Posts Tagged ‘tornadoes’
Repost from 2011: More and more science reveals the not surprising connection between a warming planet and extreme weather. Won’t stop unless emissions of fossil fuels stop — Stephen
(Bonus: How we can kick the fossil fuel addiction)
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Feb 16, 2011 (IPS)
Human-induced heating of the planet has already made rainfall more intense, leading to more severe floods, researchers announced Wednesday.
Two new studies document significant impacts with just a fraction of the heating yet to come from the burning of fossil fuels. Fortunately, another new report shows the world can end its addiction to climate-wrecking fossil-fuel energy by 2050.
“Warmer air contains more moisture and leads to more extreme precipitation,” said Francis Zwiers of the University of Victoria.
Extreme precipitation and flooding over the entire northern hemisphere increased by seven percent between 1951 and 1999 as a result of anthropogenic global warming. That represents a “substantial change”, Zwiers told IPS, and more than twice the increase projected by climate modeling.
Zwiers and Xuebin Zhang of Environment Canada used observations from over 6,000 weather stations to measure the impact of climate warming on the intensity of extreme precipitation for the first time. The study was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The planet is currently 0.8 degrees C hotter from the burning of fossil fuels. However, global temperatures had not yet started to increase in 1951, the first year of rainfall data Zwiers and Xuebin examined. By 1999, global temperatures had climbed by about 0.6 degrees C. The average temperature increase over that 50-year period is relatively small compared to the present but major impacts have been documented in terms of storm and flood damage even with this small increase in temperatures.
This suggests that the Earth’s climatic system may be more sensitive to small temperature increases than previously believed.
By Stephen Leahy
CAIRNS, Australia, Apr 3, 2012 (Tierramérica)
Extreme weather is fast becoming the new normal. Canada and much of the United States experienced summer temperatures during winter this year, confirming the findings of a new report on extreme weather.
For two weeks this March most of North America baked under extraordinarily warm temperatures that melted all the snow and ice and broke 150-year-old temperature records by large margins.
Last year the U.S. endured 14 separate billion-dollar-plus weather disasters including flooding, hurricanes and tornados.
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released Mar. 28, provides solid evidence that record-breaking weather events are increasing in number and becoming more extreme. And if current rates of greenhouse gas emissions are maintained, these events will reach dangerous new levels over the coming century.
Since 1950 there have been many more heat waves and record warm temperatures than in previous decades.
This will only increase in future decades, as will heavier rainfall events in tropical regions and the high latitudes, according to the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX).
The hottest day that occurs once in 20 years is likely to become a one-in-two year event by the end of the century, except in the high latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, where it is likely to happen once every five years.
The average tropical cyclone maximum wind speed is likely to increase, but the global frequency of tropical cyclones is likely to decrease or remain unchanged.
Five Little-Known Facts:
- “These are not natural disasters, they are environmental disasters.”
- NOAA study found that Katrina was only a Category 1 or perhaps 2 on landfall
- Storms in the NorthWest Pacific Ocean are 75 percent more powerful than they were 30 years ago
- Climate change has the potential to raise oceans temperatures high enough create future hypercanes — 600 kilometre per hour superstorms
- “The U.S. has a very big societal problem when it comes to coping with hurricanes” (ok, maybe you knew that)
This is a sampling of the little known information about hurricanes from respected scientists collected in the modestly titled “Steve’s Hurricane Handbook 2007 – Lessons Learned 2004-2006? “ (1.2 mb pdf). It’s a compendium of the most interesting quotes and facts about hurricanes from hurricane experts since 2004. Read the rest of this entry »