Connecting the dots between climate change and extreme weather

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:15 PM GMT on May 04, 2012

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Connecting the dots between human-caused climate change and extreme weather events is fraught with difficulty and uncertainty. One the one hand, the underlying physics is clear--the huge amounts of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide humans have pumped into the atmosphere must be already causing significant changes to the weather. But the weather has huge natural variations on its own, without climate change. So, communicators of the links between climate change and extreme weather need to emphasize how climate change shifts the odds. We've loaded the dice towards some types of extreme weather events, by heating the atmosphere to add more heat and moisture. This can bring more extreme weather events like heat waves, heavy downpours, and intense droughts. What's more, the added heat and moisture can change atmospheric circulation patterns, causing meanders in the jet stream capable of bringing longer-lasting periods of extreme weather. As I wrote in my post this January, Where is the climate headed?, "The natural weather rhythms I've grown to used to during my 30 years as a meteorologist have become significantly disrupted over the past few years. Many of Earth's major atmospheric circulation patterns have seen significant shifts and unprecedented behavior; new patterns that were unknown have emerged, and extreme weather events were incredibly intense and numerous during 2010 - 2011. It boggles my mind that in 2011, the U.S. saw 14 - 17 billion-dollar weather disasters, three of which matched or exceeded some of the most iconic and destructive weather events in U.S. history."


Figure 1. Women who work on a tea farm in Assam, India hold up a dot in honor of Climate Impacts Day (May 5, 2012), to urge people to connect the dots between climate change and the threat to their livelihood. Chai is one of the most consumed beverages in India, but a prolonged dry spell and extreme heat has affected tea plantations in Assam and Bengal with production dropping by 60% as compared to the same period in 2011. Image credit: 350.org.

May 5: Climate Impacts Day
On Saturday, May 5 (Cinco de Mayo!), the activist group 350.org, founded by Bill McKibben, is launching a new effort to "connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather." They've declared May 5 Climate Impacts Day, and have coordinated an impressive global effort of nearly 1,000 events in 100 countries to draw attention to the links between climate change and extreme weather. Their new climatedots.org website aims to get people involved to "protest, educate, document and volunteer along with thousands of people around the world to support the communities on the front lines of the climate crisis." Some of the events planned for Saturday: firefighters in New Mexico will hold posters with dots in a forest ravaged by wildfires; divers in the Marshall Islands take a dot underwater to their dying coral reefs; climbers on glaciers in the Alps, Andes, and Sierras will unfurl dots on melting glaciers with the simple message: "Melting"; villagers in Northeastern Kenya will create dots to show how ongoing drought is killing their crops; in San Francisco, California, aerial artist Daniel Dancer and the Center for Biological Diversity will work with hundreds of people to form a giant, moving blue dot to represent the threat of sea level rise and ocean acidification; and city-dwellers in Rio de Janeiro hold dots where mudslides from unusually heavy rains wiped out part of their neighborhood. I think its a great way to draw attention to the links between climate change and extreme weather, since the mainstream media coverage of climate change has been almost nil the past few years. A report by Media Matters for America found out that nightly news coverage about climate change on the major networks decreased 72% between 2009 and 2011. On the Sunday shows, 97% of the stories mentioning climate change were about politics in Washington D.C. or on the campaign trail, not about extreme weather or recent scientific reports. You can check out what Climate Impacts Day events may be happening in your area at the climatedots.org website.


Figure 2. Front Street Bridge on the Susquehanna River in Vestal, NY, immediately following the flood of September 8, 2011. Image credit: USGS, New York. In my post, Tropical Storm Lee's flood in Binghamton: was global warming the final straw? I argue that during September 8, 2011 flood, the Susquehanna River rose twenty feet in 24 hours and topped the flood walls in Binghamton by 8.5 inches, so just a 6% reduction in the flood height would have led to no overtopping of the flood walls and a huge decrease in damage. Extra moisture in the air due to global warming could have easily contributed this 6% of extra flood height.

Also of interest
Anti-coal activists, led by climate scientist Dr. James Hansen of NASA, are acting on Saturday to block Warren Buffett's coal trains in British Columbia from delivering coal to Pacific ports for shipment overseas. Dave Roberts of Grist explains how this may be an effective strategy to reduce coal use, in his post, "Fighting coal export terminals: It matters".

The creator of wunderground's new Climate Change Center, atmospheric scientist Angela Fritz, has a blog post on Friday's unveiling of the new Heartland Institute billboards linking mass murderers like Charles Manson and Osama Bin Laden to belief in global warming. In Heartland's description of the billboard campaign, they say, "The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen." The Heartland Institute neglected to mention that the Pope and the Dalai Lama are prominent advocates of addressing the dangers of human-caused climate change.

Jeff Masters

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Here in Trinidad the moon is a vague glow behind a thick overcast....
Vampires Unite!

I'm going to sleep, rest my weary bones..
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Quoting PedleyCA:
Evening Nigel & NCH2009

Good evening pedley. How's your weekend going?
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There was a nice crowd of streaming storm chasers out before, but the number is quickly dwindling.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
well i just come back from the roof checkin out the moon nice clear view in toronto of the event


How many Floors there?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yes, those are official NWS terms. I've seen both before, especially teacup sized.

Lol... I have to pay closer attention to the warnings now...
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8000
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


FINAALLLLLYYY!!!!!!
I get a peek of it.
.
.
.
and it doesn't look that big. :|


I haven't been able to see it at all yet, it's still behind the mountains.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Are those the official NWS terms... Becuase I would love to watch the NWS say a storm is producing "plain M&M size hail" or " teacup size hail"


ive seen teacup in a warning.
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Evening Nigel & NCH2009
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564 Neapolitan: ...being an expert in one scientific discipline does not in and of itself make one an expert in all others (unless you're the Professor on Gilligan's Island, in which case you're obviously an expert in everything: chemistry, mechanical engineering, coconut-based transistor radio construction. Everything, that is, except for basic boat repair; that's clearly a class he never bothered picking up.)

But then again, being stuck on an idyllic island with Ginger and MaryAnn could make a man expert at forgetting everything that might be connected to boat-repair.
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well i just come back from the roof checkin out the moon nice clear view in toronto of the event
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Are those the official NWS terms... Becuase I would love to watch the NWS say a storm is producing "plain M&M size hail" or " teacup size hail"

Yes, those are official NWS terms. I've seen both before, especially teacup sized.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32703
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Are those the official NWS terms... Becuase I would love to watch the NWS say a storm is producing "plain M&M size hail" or " teacup size hail"
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8000
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Never seen the DVD one in a warning.
And where is dime, that is what they use for 1/2 inch here.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

No that's what the NWS said in their warning :)

Interesting title
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32703
Quoting evilpenguinshan:
total overcast in MN, don't worry, you're not alone.




FINAALLLLLYYY!!!!!!
I get a peek of it.
.
.
.
and it doesn't look that big. :|
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Quoting nigel20:

Thanks for the info. What's up NCH2009?


Not much...a slow day...

May have to check out the moon from my skies here in SE Michigan...
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32703
I went out to see the Super Moon. Looks beatiful but is not that big and closer than I thought. At least not in Carrollwood, Tampa but it's beatiful. Go out and see it.
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Quoting nigel20:

"hen egg hail" is that a given name or you gave it that name?

No that's what the NWS said in their warning :)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8000
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Another storm producing hen egg size hail...

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHEYENNE WY
646 PM MDT SAT MAY 5 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHEYENNE HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN CHEYENNE COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF NEBRASKA...

* UNTIL 730 PM MDT

* AT 643 PM MDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DESTRUCTIVE HAIL UP TO HEN
EGG SIZE...AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS
LOCATED NEAR BROWNSON...OR 8 MILES WEST OF SIDNEY...AND MOVING
EAST AT 30 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
SIDNEY...LORENZO AND SIDNEY AIRPORT.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 80 IN NEBRASKA BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 48 AND
69.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING LARGE HAIL. SEEK SHELTER NOW
INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

THIS IS A SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM. DUE TO THE ROTATING NATURE OF THESE
STORMS...THEY ARE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ALL TYPES OF SEVERE WEATHER...
INCLUDING EXTREMELY LARGE HAIL...DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS AND
POSSIBLY TORNADOES. MOVE QUICKLY TO A SAFE SHELTER...PREFERABLY INTO
AN INTERIOR ROOM...SUCH AS A BATHROOM OR A CLOSET...OR INTO A
BASEMENT.

&&

LAT...LON 4099 10263 4099 10300 4103 10323 4121 10315
4117 10298 4107 10261 4100 10262
TIME...MOT...LOC 0046Z 278DEG 27KT 4110 10309
WIND...HAIL 60MPH 2.00IN

$$

LIEBL

"hen egg hail" is that a given name or you gave it that name?
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total overcast in MN, don't worry, you're not alone.


Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


why am i the only one who seems to have clouds in the way? :/
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


We've had a major upper trough cut-off and become stuck in the western Atlantic...with divergence southeast of it interacting with the surface convergence of the ITCZ/South American monsoon. As long as this upper trough remains stuck...this rain pattern will continue.

Thanks for the info. What's up NCH2009?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Another storm producing hen egg size hail...

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHEYENNE WY
646 PM MDT SAT MAY 5 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHEYENNE HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN CHEYENNE COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF NEBRASKA...

* UNTIL 730 PM MDT

* AT 643 PM MDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DESTRUCTIVE HAIL UP TO HEN
EGG SIZE...AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS
LOCATED NEAR BROWNSON...OR 8 MILES WEST OF SIDNEY...AND MOVING
EAST AT 30 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
SIDNEY...LORENZO AND SIDNEY AIRPORT.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 80 IN NEBRASKA BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 48 AND
69.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING LARGE HAIL. SEEK SHELTER NOW
INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

THIS IS A SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM. DUE TO THE ROTATING NATURE OF THESE
STORMS...THEY ARE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ALL TYPES OF SEVERE WEATHER...
INCLUDING EXTREMELY LARGE HAIL...DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS AND
POSSIBLY TORNADOES. MOVE QUICKLY TO A SAFE SHELTER...PREFERABLY INTO
AN INTERIOR ROOM...SUCH AS A BATHROOM OR A CLOSET...OR INTO A
BASEMENT.

&&

LAT...LON 4099 10263 4099 10300 4103 10323 4121 10315
4117 10298 4107 10261 4100 10262
TIME...MOT...LOC 0046Z 278DEG 27KT 4110 10309
WIND...HAIL 60MPH 2.00IN

$$

LIEBL
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8000
Quoting Patrap:
The Corn Moon cometh.


file image


Moonrise now, Se. La.


last full moon before the start of the season
the next one is june 4
4 days into the run
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Very wet indeed it has been in this part of the Caribbean basin in the past few days. In some runs of GFS in past days,it has hinted about the formation of a weak low pressure in the area. Only today in Puerto Rico,ten flood advisories have been issued.



We've had a major upper trough cut-off and become stuck in the western Atlantic...with divergence southeast of it interacting with the surface convergence of the ITCZ/South American monsoon. As long as this upper trough remains stuck...this rain pattern will continue.
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Quoting Birthmark:



Personally, I'm going to check out the super Moon for a bit.


why am i the only one who seems to have clouds in the way? :/
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541 AussieStorm: ...53-year-old man was walking down a street in Madrid when the lightning struck his scrotum through his pants...
The bolt is believed to have travelled down one of his legs and foot and right through to the footpath before he lost consciousness.
The man's son called paramedics who treated him for burns to his scrotum and feet.


I doubt it. Very much more likely is that he decided to urinate in public... and did so on an uninsulated electricly live wire.
One of those "What I really did is too stupid to admit..." injuries.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Here is two more.




These are some very nice pics TAwx13
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Quoting RTSplayer:
I can't change the facts, nor the definitions of truth and logic.

Based on what you've said, I'm not sure that I believe that you know those definitions.

And you have another wumail.

Personally, I'm going to check out the super Moon for a bit.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


top one looks fake

Well I hope not, it's one Weather Underground added on facebook.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32703
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Here is two more.





top one looks fake
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Here is two more.



Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32703
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Very wet indeed it has been in this part of the Caribbean basin in the past few days. In some runs of GFS in past days,it has hinted about the formation of a weak low pressure in the area.


The met service of Jamaica is suggesting that that a surface trough may develope in the central Caribbean on Monday...which would bring wet conditions to the islands of the greater antilles
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Quoting Patrap:
The Corn Moon cometh.


file image


Moonrise now, Se. La.

I'm going out at 11:35 pm EDT to see the super moon.

Some really cool pictures are being posted on facebook.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32703
The Corn Moon cometh.


file image


Moonrise now, Se. La.
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Let's hope so.


Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The Storm Prediction Center needs to drop the hatched area and reduce to 5%...the cap has restrengthened and the bulk of the wind shear is well north of where the Tornado Watch is. Not only will storms be incapable of becoming rooted to the surface, they have very little wind shear to rotate with.

Today turned out so much different than the models were suggesting just this morning.
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Quoting nigel20:

Wet eastern Caribbean and northern south america


Very wet indeed it has been in this part of the Caribbean basin in the past few days. In some runs of GFS in past days,it has hinted about the formation of a weak low pressure in the area. Only today in Puerto Rico,ten flood advisories have been issued.

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Quoting weatherh98:


And then washed his hands of it

Are u near the MCS in north Carolina?

Yes, the southern part is headed directly towards me.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32703
Quoting RTSplayer:


Go ahead and send a PM mail to me if you like, and make whatever points you want.

I'm not starting a blog blindly at this point, because as I already said, I don't know what will convince you anyway.

I can't change the facts, nor the definitions of truth and logic.

That is, I don't have anything else to say at this point anyway, unless you say something else which is in error, in which case it would need to be addressed individually.


you also have another...
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The SOI is going up...it may just be regular fluctuation or it could be going positive due to some cooling in the pacific

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The Storm Prediction Center needs to drop the hatched area and reduce to 5%...the cap has restrengthened and the bulk of the wind shear is well north of where the Tornado Watch is. Not only will storms be incapable of becoming rooted to the surface, they have very little wind shear to rotate with.

Today turned out so much different than the models were suggesting just this morning.

2012: The year of letdowns and large hail.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32703
Quoting Birthmark:

You gots a wumail thingy.


Go ahead and send a PM mail to me if you like, and make whatever points you want.

I'm not starting a blog blindly at this point, because as I already said, I don't know what will convince you anyway.

I can't change the facts, nor the definitions of truth and logic.

That is, I don't have anything else to say at this point anyway, unless you say something else which is in error, in which case it would need to be addressed individually.
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not the greatest stream ever but I think this guy has video on the cell in SD...looks like a wall cloud.

Link
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The atlantic is warming quite quickly now that the NAO is in negative territory
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Quoting nofailsafe:


What are you using to make those graphics, looks a little like GEMPAK.

It's a program called GREarth.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32703
The storms in the Severe thunderstorm watch have winds greater than 80 mph in some spots...
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Q4 seems to be ramping up, getting a bit of rotation (maybe?), making a right turn too. keep an eye on this one.

annnnnd the next frame shows TVS. warning coming?



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Quoting RTSplayer:

You gots a wumail thingy.
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May 5, 2012 SST Anomaly
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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