Climate

First above-normal Atlantic hurricane season since 2012 produced five landfalling U.S. storms
December 8, 2016 04:26 PM - NOAA

As the Atlantic, eastern Pacific and central Pacific 2016 hurricane seasons end today, NOAA scientists said that all three regions saw above-normal seasons.

NASA Sees Tropical Cyclone 05B Form
December 8, 2016 10:01 AM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

An area of tropical low pressure designated System 99B has consolidated and developed into Tropical Cyclone 05B. On Dec. 7 the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Cyclone 05B over the Anadaman and Nicobar Islands. The VIIRS image showed bands of thunderstorms wrapping around the center from the northern to the eastern quadrants over the Anadaman Islands.

East Greenland ice sheet has responded to climate change for the last 7.5 million years
December 8, 2016 09:42 AM - Anne M Stark via DOE / Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Using marine sediment cores containing isotopes of aluminum and beryllium, a group of international researchers has discovered that East Greenland experienced deep, ongoing glacial erosion over the past 7.5 million years.

The research reconstructs ice sheet erosion dynamics in that region during the past 7.5 million years and has potential implications for how much the ice sheet will respond to future interglacial warming.

The team, made up of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of Vermont, Boston College and Imperial College London, analyzed sediments eroded from the continent and deposited in the ocean off the coast, which are like a time capsule preserving records of glacial processes. The research appears in the Dec. 8 edition of the journal, Nature.

Sea ice hit record lows in November
December 7, 2016 11:41 AM - University of Colorado at Boulder

Unusually high air temperatures and a warm ocean have led to a record low Arctic sea ice extent for November, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. In the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctic sea ice extent also hit a record low for the month, caused by moderately warm temperatures and a rapid shift in circumpolar winds.

“It looks like a triple whammy—a warm ocean, a warm atmosphere, and a wind pattern all working against the ice in the Arctic,” said NSIDC director Mark Serreze.

When Permafrost Melts, What Happens to All That Stored Carbon?
December 6, 2016 08:55 AM - Stacy Morford via The Earth Institute at Columbia University

The Arctic’s frozen ground contains large stores of organic carbon that have been locked in the permafrost for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise, that permafrost is starting to melt, raising concerns about the impact on the climate as organic carbon becomes exposed. A new study is shedding light on what that could mean for the future by providing the first direct physical evidence of a massive release of carbon from permafrost during a warming spike at the end of the last ice age.

The study, published this week in the journal Nature Communications, documents how Siberian soil once locked in permafrost was carried into the Arctic Ocean during that period at a rate about seven times higher than today.

Extreme downpours could increase fivefold across parts of the U.S.
December 5, 2016 11:26 AM - National Center for Atmospheric Research / University Corporation For Atmospheric Research

At century's end, the number of summertime storms that produce extreme downpours could increase by more than 400 percent across parts of the United States — including sections of the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, and the Southwest — according to a new study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, also finds that the intensity of individual extreme rainfall events could increase by as much as 70 percent in some areas. That would mean that a storm that drops about 2 inches of rainfall today would be likely to drop nearly 3.5 inches in the future.

The Paris Climate Deal Is Now in Force. What Comes Next?
December 4, 2016 09:07 PM - Steve Williams, Care2

The Paris Agreement was hailed as a turning point for world governments tackling climate change, and it has now come into effect. What does this mean for the world — and where do we go from here?

On Friday, November 4, the Paris Agreement went into effect, meaning that the agreement made last year by nearly 200 international delegates must now be honored. To recognize the consensus coming into force, the United Nations stated that it is a moment to celebrate – and to take concerted action.

“We remain in a race against time,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized. ”Now is the time to strengthen global resolve, do what science demands and seize the opportunity to build a safer, more sustainable world for all.”

Climate Change Will Drive Stronger, Smaller Storms in U.S.
December 2, 2016 11:22 AM - Rob Mitchum via Computation Institute

The effects of climate change will likely cause smaller but stronger storms in the United States, according to a new framework for modeling storm behavior developed at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. Though storm intensity is expected to increase over today’s levels, the predicted reduction in storm size may alleviate some fears of widespread severe flooding in the future.

The new approach, published today in Journal of Climate, uses new statistical methods to identify and track storm features in both observational weather data and new high-resolution climate modeling simulations. When applied to one simulation of the future effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, the framework helped clarify a common discrepancy in model forecasts of precipitation changes.

Exploring the fate of the Earth's storehouse of carbon
December 1, 2016 04:41 PM - Tom Rickey via PNNL

A new study predicts that warming temperatures will contribute to the release into the atmosphere of carbon that has long been locked up securely in the coldest reaches of our planet.

Soil and climate expert Katherine Todd-Brown, a scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is an author of the paper, published in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Nature, which draws upon data collected through 49 separate field experiments around the world.

The research was led by Thomas Crowther, formerly of Yale and now at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, and colleague Mark Bradford at Yale. Scientists from more than 30 institutions across the globe, including PNNL, collaborated on the study.

Increasing tornado outbreaks — Is climate change responsible?
December 1, 2016 02:51 PM - Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms kill people and damage property every year. Estimated U.S. insured losses due to severe thunderstorms in the first half of 2016 were $8.5 billion. The largest U.S. impacts of tornadoes result from tornado outbreaks, sequences of tornadoes that occur in close succession. Last spring a research team led by Michael Tippett, associate professor of applied physics and applied mathematics at Columbia Engineering, published a study showing that the average number of tornadoes during outbreaks—large-scale weather events that can last one to three days and span huge regions—has risen since 1954. But they were not sure why.

In a new paper, published December 1 in Science via First Release, the researchers looked at increasing trends in the severity of tornado outbreaks where they measured severity by the number of tornadoes per outbreak. They found that these trends are increasing fastest for the most extreme outbreaks. While they saw changes in meteorological quantities that are consistent with these upward trends, the meteorological trends were not the ones expected under climate change.

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