Weather extremes provoked by trapping of giant waves in atmosphere

Feb 25, 2013
Credit: NASA

The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years, such as the heat wave in the United States in 2011 or the one in Russia 2010 coinciding with the unprecedented Pakistan flood. Behind these devastating individual events there is a common physical cause, propose scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The study will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and suggests that man-made climate change repeatedly disturbs the patterns of atmospheric flow around the globe's Northern hemisphere through a subtle resonance mechanism.

"An important part of the global air motion in the mid-latitudes of the Earth normally takes the form of waves wandering around the planet, oscillating between the tropical and the . So when they swing up, these waves suck warm air from the tropics to Europe, Russia, or the US, and when they swing down, they do the same thing with cold air from the Arctic," explains lead author Vladimir Petoukhov.

"What we found is that during several recent these planetary waves almost freeze in their tracks for weeks. So instead of bringing in cool air after having brought warm air in before, the heat just stays. In fact, we observe a strong amplification of the usually weak, slowly moving component of these waves," says Petoukhov. Time is critical here: two or three days of 30 degrees Celsius are no problem, but twenty or more days lead to extreme . Since many ecosystems and cities are not adapted to this, prolonged hot periods can result in a high death toll, , and dramatic harvest losses.

Climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning does not mean uniform global warming – in the Arctic, the relative increase of temperatures, amplified by the loss of snow and ice, is higher than on average. This in turn reduces the temperature difference between the Arctic and, for example, Europe, yet temperature differences are a main driver of air flow. Additionally, continents generally warm and cool more readily than the oceans. "These two factors are crucial for the mechanism we detected," says Petoukhov. "They result in an unnatural pattern of the mid-latitude air flow, so that for extended periods the slow synoptic waves get trapped."

The authors of the study developed equations that describe the wave motions in the extra-tropical atmosphere and show under what conditions those waves can grind to a halt and get amplified. They tested their assumptions using standard daily weather data from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). During recent periods in which several major weather extremes occurred, the trapping and strong amplification of particular waves – like "wave seven" (which has seven troughs and crests spanning the globe) – was indeed observed. The data show an increase in the occurrence of these specific atmospheric patterns, which is statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level.

"Our dynamical analysis helps to explain the increasing number of novel weather extremes. It complements previous research that already linked such phenomena to climate change, but did not yet identify a mechanism behind it," says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of PIK and co-author of the study. "This is quite a breakthrough, even though things are not at all simple – the suggested physical process increases the probability of weather extremes, but additional factors certainly play a role as well, including natural variability." Also, the 32-year period studied in the project provides a good indication of the mechanism involved, yet is too short for definite conclusions.

Nevertheless, the study significantly advances the understanding of the relation between and man-made . Scientists were surprised by how far outside past experience some of the recent extremes have been. The new data show that the emergence of extraordinary weather is not just a linear response to the mean warming trend, and the proposed mechanism could explain that.

Explore further: Scientists monitoring Hawaii lava undertake risks

More information: Petoukhov, V., Rahmstorf, S., Petri, S., Schellnhuber, H. J. (2013): Quasi-resonant amplification of planetary waves and recent Northern Hemisphere weather extremes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Early Edition) doi:10.1073/pnas.1222000110

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Sean_W
1.9 / 5 (23) Feb 25, 2013
"The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years"


AND IN NON-RECENT YEARS!!!
What is wrong with these people? There's no reason, no evidence, no sanity in the claim that there are more severe weather events than in history. Even most climate scientists who believe the warmists doctrine will tell you that. Once again: get the stories straight.
cyberCMDR
4.3 / 5 (16) Feb 25, 2013
And how many of the hottest years on record have been within the past decade?
freethinking
1.3 / 5 (23) Feb 25, 2013
The reason we have had the hottest years on record is because of the increase in the construction of Wind Mills. If you look at any charts produced by the UN, they show a direct correlation between climate change and wind mills. Only deniests disagree that wind mills is the direct cause of climate change.

The science is settled, more wind mills, the more our climate will change. We must bring to court Al Gore and everyone else who are reaping financial rewards associated with building wind mills.
runrig
4.3 / 5 (11) Feb 25, 2013
The reason we have had the hottest years on record is because of the increase in the construction of Wind Mills. If you look at any charts produced by the UN, they show a direct correlation between climate change and wind mills. Only deniests disagree that wind mills is the direct cause of climate change.

The science is settled, more wind mills, the more our climate will change. We must bring to court Al Gore and everyone else who are reaping financial rewards associated with building wind mills.


And can you explain how this correlation would work in scientific terms? How do wind-mills raise global temps?
NikFromNYC
1.8 / 5 (16) Feb 25, 2013
And how many of the hottest years on record have been within the past decade?


Given the boringly linear trend of history, your point was true for most every decade going back to the 1600s and thus represents a debunking of claims that recent warming represents a trend change by the very fact that you need to resort to misdirection rather than linking to the oldest thermometer records that exist, which I plotted here in a single glance:

http://s13.postim...mage.jpg

Science works not by word games but by seeking out, actively, real measurements that do *not* fit a theory. Recently Central England plunged back below the trend line.
schwarz
3.9 / 5 (11) Feb 25, 2013
"Science works not by word games but by seeking out, actively, real measurements that do *not* fit a theory. Recently Central England plunged back below the trend line."

And you are of course conveniently omitting the fact that every single climate model published in the last 25 years has predicted that because of disruption to the Gulf Stream, warming in England would be the mildest, and there might even be paradoxical cooling.
InterestedAmateur
4.6 / 5 (10) Feb 25, 2013
The reason we have had the hottest years on record is because of the increase in the construction of Wind Mills. If you look at any charts produced by the UN, they show a direct correlation between climate change and wind mills. Only deniests disagree that wind mills is the direct cause of climate change.


On that basis anything can be responsible. More people have a TV than ever before, TV causes it, more people have mobile phones, they must cause it. My favourite is that there are more idiots blowing hot air as evidenced in PhysOrg comments therefore THEY are to blame!

Statistical coincidence is not evidence of anything other than statistical coincidence.
weezilla
4.5 / 5 (8) Feb 26, 2013
The reason we have had the hottest years on record is because of the increase in the construction of Wind Mills. If you look at any charts produced by the UN, they show a direct correlation between climate change and wind mills. Only deniests disagree that wind mills is the direct cause of climate change.

The science is settled, more wind mills, the more our climate will change. We must bring to court Al Gore and everyone else who are reaping financial rewards associated with building wind mills.


1) People wouldn't build wind-mills if they weren't economical. It's fine to reap success off of them. 2) Our need for clean energy encouraged us to seek alternatives, so we built wind mills. That's the correlation, and why you should never use a correlation alone as an explanation. 3) If anything, I'd suppose wind mills remove energy from our weather systems.
VendicarE
4 / 5 (8) Feb 26, 2013
A spatial analysis of extreme hourly precipitation patterns in India

http://onlinelibr...1.d04t04

Observed Variability and Trends in Extreme Climate Events:

http://focusonflo...1999.pdf

A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems

http://www.discov...2003.pdf

Extreme High-Temperature Events: Changes in their probabilities with Changes in Mean Temperature

http://journals.a...0.CO%3B2

"There's no reason, no evidence, no sanity in the claim that there are more severe weather events than in history." - SeanTard
deepsand
2.5 / 5 (11) Feb 26, 2013
Some http://www.meteor...peratus/ are interpreted as a consequence of atmosphere circulation changes induced with global warming. With increasing temperature gradient the character of atmosphere circulation changes from horizontal into vertical convective cells, which indeed induces the formation of new types of clouds or climatic disturbances, which were never documented before.
Climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning
This is nonscientific way of reasoning (actually it's a red herring fallacy). What we are observing is huge increasing of human activity, smog and carbon dioxide production. What we are observing is the increase of global temperatures, the temperatures of oceans in particular. All right. But despite we have one hundred years old theory of how these two effects are related (Arrhenius 1896), this causality is still not fully documented.

Clueless drivel.
deepsand
2.1 / 5 (11) Feb 26, 2013
The main objections against anthropocentric origin of global warming are the fact, that increase of carbon dioxide concentrations advances the increase of global temperatures, not just follows it. In addition, the temperature of oceans increases faster, than the temperature of atmosphere (global heat content anomaly). If the source of heat would be Co2, we should observe the opposite effect.

More clueless drivel.

deepsand
2.5 / 5 (11) Feb 26, 2013
Of course, these indicia aren't fully conclusive. But we have another ones, which aren't directly related to climatic changes at the Earth. We can for example observe the increased density of storms at another planets of solar system (Jupiter, Saturn) and the polar caps of Mars are receding. And we have another number of even less indirect evidences for theory, that the MAIN (but not ALL) origin of global warming is not anthropocentric. In addition, we should distinguish between HEAT effects and DROUGHTS effects (IMO the people are way more responsible for the later than for the former one)

And yet more clueless drivel.
freethinking
1 / 5 (8) Feb 26, 2013
Runrig, you are a denier in Windmill inducing global warming. But after reviewing the stats I've come to realize that Windmills are just as much to blame as CO2. In otherwords, man has nothing to do with climate change! :)
krundoloss
4.8 / 5 (5) Feb 26, 2013
Satellites have shown us how interconnected Earth is. Just as the South American Rainforest gets phosphates from the Sahara Desert, there are many larger scale weather systems at work here. As we understand them better, we will be able to predict these global weather patterns with more accuracy. As to the cause, natural or unnatural, of global warming, I will let you guys argue about it. Just realize that there are many factors, but that doesnt mean that we should not strive to reach a better homeostasis with our home planet.
Jadxia
5 / 5 (5) Feb 26, 2013
Someone get the trolls off the comment feed please, so I can hear the intelligent people speak.
Jadxia
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 26, 2013
And hey trolls, you get your jollies off the backs of other people's legitimate distress. Just because you can't see a person's weakness doesn't mean it doesn't exist. What do you do for fun, kick the disabled?
runrig
5 / 5 (5) Feb 26, 2013
Runrig, you are a denier in Windmill inducing global warming. But after reviewing the stats I've come to realize that Windmills are just as much to blame as CO2. In otherwords, man has nothing to do with climate change! :)


This my OP ...

"And can you explain how this correlation would work in scientific terms? How do wind-mills raise global temps?

How do you deduce your above statement from that??

I am of course. In fact I'm leaning towards a wind-up ( as we say in the UK ). But I've checked ... it's still 5 weeks until the 1st April.

Still an answer to my questions would be interesting.

freethinking
1 / 5 (7) Feb 26, 2013
How can a gas that is only 0.0387% of the atmosphere and which mankind only contributes a small portion of that total cause climate change. when you figure also that the Sun's output has changed by up to .4% over the last 40 years?

If you believe in AGW caused by CO2, then you might as well blame Wind Mills.
runrig
5 / 5 (4) Feb 26, 2013
How can a gas that is only 0.0387% of the atmosphere and which mankind only contributes a small portion of that total cause climate change. when you figure also that the Sun's output has changed by up to .4% over the last 40 years?


Because it is a potent GHG, that's why. It doesn't take much to have a small but incremental effect on the climate system, which is in fine balance. Positive feed-backs then accelerating change.

"There are no direct measurements of the longer-term variation, and interpretations of proxy measures of variations differ. The intensity of solar radiation reaching Earth has been relatively constant through the last 2000 years, with variations estimated at around 0.1–0.2%. Solar variation, together with volcanic activity are hypothesized to have contributed to climate change, for example during the Maunder Minimum. However, changes in solar brightness are too weak to explain recent climate change."

http://en.wikiped...ariation
deepsand
2.8 / 5 (11) Feb 27, 2013
LOL, it's your responses and dismissals what is clueless here, not my reasoning..:-) You've completely {per|in}verted perception of reality in this way. But the real scientists don't dismiss anything, if they have no argument against it. Whereas you're just a negativist troll...

I indeed know quite well, what happens here. The solar system is passing through dark matter cloud and its neutrinos do accelerate the decay of potassium in marine water. Most of global warming comes just from this source.

That you clearly lack a grasp of the basic laws of Physics that are here in play reveals you to be a rank amateur, one who knows just enough to think that he knows it all.
deepsand
2.6 / 5 (10) Feb 27, 2013
that you clearly lack a grasp of the basic laws of Physics
The usage of upper letter in the name of physics speaks for religious attitude toward this science by itself.

Your failure to understand the reason for certain things being capitalized suggests that you also fail to understand the distinction between "theory" and "Theory," which itself is a mark of those who fail to understand Science in general.
runrig
5 / 5 (5) Feb 27, 2013
BTW For me the sufficient evidence of such trolling is just the fact, you were upvoted at this forum...;-)


Natello

Many an inmate of an asylum thinks they are the only sane one in there - despite obvious evidence to the contrary.

The solar system is passing through dark matter cloud and its neutrinos do accelerate the decay of potassium in marine water. Most of global warming comes just from this source.


This a science forum. Established science. You are welcome to come back when we have figured out more about dark matter and what it means to the universe, and some peer reviewed science is available to back-up your assertions of "neutrinos do accelerate the decay of potassium in marine water". Until then bye-bye.
DGBEACH
1.4 / 5 (5) Mar 03, 2013

I indeed know quite well, what happens here. The solar system is passing through dark matter cloud and its neutrinos do accelerate the decay of potassium in marine water. Most of global warming comes just from this source.


The same basic opinion of another poster on another site named Ragtime...but he spoke of the potassium in the mantle, whose decay makes for about 4 TW worth of earth's heating.
Do we even know if dark matter is made up of neutrinos? If it is, why couldn't this be a possible explanation for accelerated heating? Just sayin
DGBEACH
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 03, 2013
bad edit
deepsand
2 / 5 (9) Mar 03, 2013
The same basic opinion of another poster on another site named Ragtime...but he spoke of the potassium in the mantle, whose decay makes for about 4 TW worth of earth's heating.
Do we even know if dark matter is made up of neutrinos?

We've no idea what "dark matter" is. What we do know is there is no gravitational evidence of our Solar system being permeated with it.

If it is, why couldn't this be a possible explanation for accelerated heating?

Because if neutrinos had such effect, the ongoing massive outpouring of neutrinos from our own Sun would had made such effect evident a long time ago.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (4) Mar 03, 2013
This a science forum. Established science.
The passing of solar system trough interstellar clouds IS established science. The fact you don't know about it is not my problem. On the contrary, the denial of these observations without evidence IS crackpotism.
neutrinos do accelerate the decay of potassium
It's known and confirmed already that neutrinos affect the speed of decay of many radioactive elements.
deepsand
2 / 5 (8) Mar 03, 2013
This a science forum. Established science.
The passing of solar system trough interstellar clouds IS http://www.scienc...1114.htm already that neutrinos affect the speed of decay of many radioactive elements.

Irrelevant to the issue of what dark matter is, or the fact that Earth has long been heavily bombarded by nuetrinos from our own Sun without evidencing global warming.