Future holds more extreme weather

Nov 01, 2011 By SETH BORENSTEIN , AP Science Writer
In this Oct. 31, 2011 file photo, Thai residents carry their belongings along floods as they move to higher ground at Bangkok's Don Muang district, Thailand. Freakish weather, from this weekends October snowstorm to the long-lasting drought in the US Southwest, is striking more often. And global warming should make future weather even weirder, a special international report says. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

(AP) -- For a world already weary of weather catastrophes, the latest warning from top climate scientists paints a grim future: More floods, more heat waves, more droughts and greater costs to deal with them.

A draft summary of an international scientific report obtained by The Associated Press says the extremes caused by global warming could eventually grow so severe that some locations become "increasingly marginal as places to live."

The report from the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change marks a change in climate science, from focusing on subtle shifts in average temperatures to concentrating on the harder-to-analyze freak events that grab headlines, hurt economies and kill people.

"The extremes are a really noticeable aspect of climate change," said Jerry Meehl, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "I think people realize that the extremes are where we are going to see a lot of the impacts of climate change."

The final version of the report from a panel of leading climate scientists will be issued in a few weeks, after a meeting in Uganda. The draft says there is at least a 2-in-3 probability that climate extremes have already worsened because of man-made greenhouse gases.

The most recent bizarre weather extreme, the pre-Halloween snowstorm that crippled parts of the Northeast last weekend, cannot be blamed on climate change and probably isn't the type of storm that will increase with global warming, according to four meteorologists and climate scientists.

Experts on extreme storms have focused more closely on the increasing number of super-heavy rainstorms, not snow, NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt said.

By the end of the century, the intense, single-day rainstorms that typically happen once every 20 years will probably happen about twice a decade, the report said.

The opposite type of disaster - a drought such as the stubbornly long dry spell gripping Texas and parts of the Southwest - could also happen more often as the world warms, said Schmidt and Meehl, who reviewed part of the climate panel report.

Studies have not yet specifically tied global warming to the continuing drought, but it is consistent with computer models that indicate current climate trends will worsen existing droughts, Meehl said. Scientifically connecting a weather disaster with global warming is a complicated and time-consuming task that can take more than a year and involve lots of computer calculations.

Researchers have also predicted more intense monsoons with climate change. Warmer air can hold more water and impart more energy to weather systems, changing the dynamics of storms and where and how they hit.

Thailand is now coping with massive flooding from monsoonal rains - an event that illustrates how climate is also connected with other manmade issues such as population growth, urban development and river management, Schmidt said.

In fact, the report says, "for some climate extremes in many regions, the main driver for future increases in losses will be socioeconomic" rather than a result of greenhouse gases.

The panel was formed by the United Nations and World Meteorological Organization. In the past, it has discussed extreme events in snippets in its report. But this time, the scientists are putting them all together.

The report, which needs approval by diplomats at the mid-November meeting, tries to measure the confidence scientists have in their assessment of climate extremes both future and past.

Chris Field, one of the leaders of the climate change panel, said he and other authors declined to comment because the report is still subject to change.

The summary chapter did not detail which regions of the world might suffer extremes so severe as to leave them only marginally habitable.

The report does say scientists are "virtually certain" - 99 percent - that the world will have more extreme spells of heat and fewer of cold. Heat waves could peak as much as 5 degrees hotter by mid-century and even 9 degrees hotter by the end of the century.

From June to August this year in the United States, blistering heat set 2,703 daily high temperature records, compared with only 300 cold records during that period. That made it the hottest summer in the U.S. since the Dust Bowl of 1936, according to Weather Underground Meteorology Director Jeff Masters, who was not involved in the study.

And there's an 80 percent chance that the killer Russian heat wave of 2010 would not have happened without the added push of global warming, according to a study published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists expect future hurricanes and other tropical cyclones to have stronger winds, but they won't increase in number and may actually decrease.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel, who studies climate's effects on hurricanes, disagrees and believes more of these intense storms will occur.

And global warming isn't the sole villain in future climate disasters, the climate report says. An even bigger problem will be the number of people - especially the poor - who live in harm's way.

The 18-page summary report isn't completely grim. It says some "low-regrets measures" can help reduce disaster risks and costs, including better preparedness, sustainable land and water management, better public health monitoring and building improvements.

University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, who was not among the authors, said the report was written to be "so bland" that it may not matter to world leaders.

But Masters said the basic findings seem to be proven true by actual events.

"In the U.S., this has been the weirdest weather year we've had for my 30 years, hands down."

Explore further: 3Qs: Game theory and global climate talks

More information: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: http://www.ipcc.ch/

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on weather extremes: http://1.usa.gov/sYQQRv

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omatumr
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 01, 2011
Factual Observations [A,B]:

A. Earths climate is strongly influenced by the Sun

B. Like other stars the Sun is massive, violent and layered:

www.eso.org/publi...eso1029/

_1st: The fluid outer envelope (91% H and 9% He):

www.omatumr.com/P...face.htm

http://apod.nasa....918.html

www.foxnews.com/s...c6W6l2Zf

_2nd: The iron-rich solar interior [2]

http://trace.lmsa...0828.avi

3rd: The pulsar solar core [3]

www.omatumr.com/P...core.htm

References [1-3] are above.
omatumr
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 01, 2011
References [1-3] are below:


Experimental Data [1-3, and references cited therein] :

1. J. D. Jose, "Suns motion and sunspots," Astron. J. 70, 193-200 (1965)

www.griffith.edu....S176.pdf

www.mitosyfraudes...t-1.html

2. Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate, J. Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002)

http://arxiv.org/.../0501441

3. Neutron repulsion, The APEIRON J., in press (2011)

http://arxiv.org/...2.1499v1

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
http://myprofile....anuelo09
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2011
"I recommend a few Experimental Data" - Omatard

"At continental, regional, and ocean basin scales, numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed. These include changes in Arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones."

"More intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s, particularly in the tropics and subtropics. Increased drying linked with higher temperatures and decreased precipitation have contributed to changes in drought. Changes in sea surface temperatures (SST), wind patterns, and decreased snowpack and snow cover have also been linked to droughts."

"The frequency of heavy precipitation events has increased over most land areas, consistent with warming and observed increases of atmospheric water vapour." - IPCC

Cont.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2011
"Widespread changes in extreme temperatures have been observed over the last 50 years. Cold days, cold nights and frost have become less frequent, while hot days, hot nights, and heat waves have become more frequent." - IPCC

http://ipccinfo.c...reme.php

Poor Omatard.. Poor demented Omatard...
rwinners
not rated yet Nov 02, 2011
I agree with the gist of the article, but I wonder about the statement about GW not contributing to snow events. Seems to me that requisite to the heating of the planet is the storage of that heat in water and the return of part of that heat to the atmosphere through evaporation. Given the speed at which volumes of atmosphere move, I'd think that this would provide increased moisture even in places subject to snow vs rain.

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