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- 28 January 2011 at 1:17 am #3607
Commentary in Time from Professor Michio Kaku includes:Quote:The weather seems to be going berserk, with more snow dumped on our beleaguered Northeastern cities in a month than in a year, paralyzing business and our lives. Records are being broken even as we speak.
Common sense says that it's the freezing cold that is behind the freaky weather. But physics says otherwise.
Among many factors, the amount of snow dumped is largely driven by the amount of moisture in humid air and not so much the temperature
global warming can heat the oceans and generate more moisture, which in turn can drive larger storms.
the main consequence of global warming is not warming at all but instead increasingly violent swings in the weather, with droughts and famine in one area occurring at the same time as flooding in another, and snowstorms in one region at the same time as hot spells in another.
And as the Earth continues to heat, it means that there will be more moisture in the air to possibly drive more monster storms and hurricanes, simultaneously with droughts and hot spells. So we might expect more unusual, bizarre weather patterns in the future.
And unless something is done about it, get used to it.27 March 2012 at 2:01 am #4843
press release from Potsdam Institute for Climate Research:Quote:Weather records due to climate change: A game with loaded dice
The past decade has been one of unprecedented weather extremes. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany argue that the high incidence of extremes is not merely accidental. From the many single events a pattern emerges. At least for extreme rainfall and heat waves the link with human-caused global warming is clear, the scientists show in a new analysis of scientific evidence in the journal Nature Climate Change. Less clear is the link between warming and storms, despite the observed increase in the intensity of hurricanes.
In 2011 alone, the US was hit by 14 extreme weather events which caused damages exceeding one billion dollars each – in several states the months of January to October were the wettest ever recorded. Japan also registered record rainfalls, while the Yangtze river basin in China suffered a record drought. Similar record-breaking events occurred also in previous years. In 2010, Western Russia experienced the hottest summer in centuries, while in Pakistan and Australia record-breaking amounts of rain fell. 2003 saw Europe´s hottest summer in at least half a millennium. And in 2002, the weather station of Zinnwald-Georgenfeld measured more rain in one day than ever before recorded anywhere in Germany – what followed was the worst flooding of the Elbe river for centuries.
"A question of probabilities"
"The question is whether these weather extremes are coincidental or a result of climate change," says Dim Coumou, lead author of the article. "Global warming can generally not be proven to cause individual extreme events – but in the sum of events the link to climate change becomes clear." This is what his analysis of data and published studies shows. "It is not a question of yes or no, but a question of probabilities," Coumou explains. The recent high incidence of weather records is no longer normal, he says.
"It´s like a game with loaded dice," says Coumou. "A six can appear every now and then, and you never know when it happens. But now it appears much more often, because we have changed the dice." The past week illustrates this: between March 13th and 19th alone, historical heat records were exceeded in more than a thousand places in North America.
Three pillars: basic physics, statistical analysis and computer simulations
The scientists base their analysis on three pillars: basic physics, statistical analysis and computer simulations. Elementary physical principles already suggest that a warming of the atmosphere leads to more extremes. For example, warm air can hold more moisture until it rains out. Secondly, clear statistical trends can be found in temperature and precipitation data, the scientists explain. And thirdly, detailed computer simulations also confirm the relation between warming and records in both temperature and precipitation.
With warmer ocean temperatures, tropical storms – called typhoons or hurricanes, depending on the region – should increase in intensity but not in number, according to the current state of knowledge. In the past decade, several record-breaking storms occurred, for example hurricane Wilma in 2004. But the dependencies are complex and not yet fully understood. The observed strong increase in the intensity of tropical storms in the North Atlantic between 1980 and 2005, for example, could be caused not just by surface warming but by a cooling of the upper atmosphere. Furthermore, there are questions about the precision and reliability of historic storm data.
Overall, cold extremes decrease with global warming, the scientists found. But this does not compensate for the increase in heat extremes.
Climatic warming can turn an extreme event into a record-breaking event
"Single weather extremes are often related to regional processes, like a blocking high pressure system or natural phenomena like El Niño," says Stefan Rahmstorf, co-author of the article and chair of the Earth System Analysis department at PIK. "These are complex processes that we are investigating further. But now these processes unfold against the background of climatic warming. That can turn an extreme event into a record-breaking event."###
Article: Coumou, D., Rahmstorf, S. (2012): A Decade of Weather Extremes. Nature Climate Change [DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1452]
Weblink to the article once it is published: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE145227 April 2012 at 3:52 am #4850
Report in Scientific American on survey revealing there seems to be change underway towards already wet places becoming wetter, and places with little rain becoming even drier. Includes:Quote:Now new measurements of the ocean's salinity prove that prediction—and suggest that global warming strengthens the water cycle even more than anticipated.
"What we found is that regions that are salty in the main are becoming saltier" and areas that boast more rainfall are getting fresher, explains oceanographer Paul Durack of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who led the research to be published in Science on April 27. "It's another independent estimate of how the climate is changing as we pump out CO2."
The increase in warm water vapor as the globe heats will fuel more violent storms, whereas droughts in places like Australia, stuck in the middle of oceanic regions dominated by evaporation, will only grow more severe. Or as Durack says: "wet regions will get wetter and dry regions drier."
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