Extreme climate, here we come…..

5 01 2018

As this blog starts attracting climate deniers, climate change is causing havoc all over the planet.  Hardly surprising really, because adding more energy (heat in this case) to a dynamic system like the planet’s climate was always going to cause more and more energetic results and extremes…..

cold storm bombWhile North America is about to experience a cold weather bomb, with atmospheric pressure predicted to drop to 962hPa – which if it happened in the tropics would almost certainly cause an upgrade of cyclone/hurricane classifications – resulting in sea level surges, flooding, 100km/h winds and temperatures dropping as low as -40C….

From climate reality project dot org….

The US East Coast is experiencing an “old-fashioned” winter, with plenty of cold weather and some heavy snowfall in certain places. Listening to climate contrarians like President Donald Trump, you might think this constitutes the death knell for concern over human-caused climate change.

Yet, what we were witnessing play out is in fact very much consistent with our expectations of the response of weather dynamics to human-caused climate change.

Dr. Michael Mann on Extreme Weather: “We Predicted This Long Ago”

Let’s start with the record five-plus feet of snowfall accumulation in Erie, Pennsylvania, in late December. Does this disprove global warming? “Exactly the opposite,” explains my colleague, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University. 

Global warming is leading to later freeze-up of the Great Lakes and warmer lake temperatures. It is the collision of cold Arctic air with relatively warm unfrozen lake water in early winter that causes lake effect snows in the first place. The warmer those lake temperatures, the more moisture in the air, and the greater potential for lake effect snows. Not surprisingly, we see a long-term increase in lake effect snowfalls as temperatures have warmed during the last century (see figure below).

iew image on Twitter

Moreover, while we’ve seen some cold weather in the eastern half of the North America (see the pattern for New Year’s Day below), the western half of North America has been unusually warm. Indeed, most of the Northern Hemisphere, and the globe overall, have been unusually warm. That’s why we call it global warming, folks.


(Image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA)

Right now, it’s actually warmer in Alaska than Florida; and some people believe it’s caused by sunspots.

And where’s all that heat gone?  AUSTRALIA….!  we are expecting a heatwave, starting today in Tasmania in the mid 30’s but worsening to well over 40C in Sydney this weekend.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is urging Sydneysiders to “check up on their elderly neighbours” on Sunday, with the mercury expected to reach 45 degrees Celsius in some parts of the city.

Several areas in Sydney’s west are predicted to swelter through the weekend, with highs of 45C in Penrith, 44C in Richmond and 43C in Liverpool, Blacktown and Campbelltown.

The CBD and eastern suburbs will not be immune, with the bureau warning temperatures in those areas could top 40C.

“Heatwaves can particularly affect vulnerable people, so the sick, the elderly and children,” BOM duty forecaster Rob Taggart said.

And all this weather chaos is already affecting the price of veggies here in Australia. Here in Tasmania, we’ve had really unseasonal wind, the likes of which usually occur in Spring, not Summer.  In fact, our Summer has been more like Spring all along, with just a couple of hot days, and lots of rain to go with the wind. It’s hammering my snow peas which are definitely not producing as well as last year.

A northern New South Wales vegetable grower is warning that warm temperatures could see prices rise at the supermarket, as South-east Queensland and northern New South Wales are in for several sweltering days with temperatures in the high 30s as extreme heat from Queensland’s west makes its way across the state…..