Is Arctic warming influencing the UK’s extreme weather?

Is Arctic warming influencing the UK’s extreme weather?

SOURCE: University of Lincoln DATE: January 4, 2018 SNIP: Severe snowy weather in winter or extreme rains in summer in the UK might be influenced by warming trends in the Arctic, according to new findings. Climate scientists from the UK and the US examined historic data of extreme weather events in the UK over the past decade and compared them with the position of the North Atlantic polar atmospheric jet steam using a measure called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. The NAO indicates the position of the jet stream – which is a giant current of air that broadly flows eastwards over mid-latitude regions around the globe – through a diagram which shows ‘negative’and ‘positive’ spikes, similar to how a heart monitor looks. The researchers highlight that the exceptionally wet UK summers of 2007 and 2012 had notably negative readings of the NAO, as did the cold, snowy winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, while the exceptionally mild, wet, stormy winters experienced in 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 showed pronounced positive spikes. The scientists also highlighted a correlation between the jet stream’s altered path over the past decade – so-called jet stream ‘waviness’ – and an increase during summer months in a phenomenon called Greenland high-pressure blocking, which represents areas of high pressure that remain nearly stationary over the Greenland region and distort the usual progression of storms across the North Atlantic. Increased jet waviness is associated with a weakening of the jet stream, and the accompanying ‘blocking’ is linked to some of the most extreme UK seasonal weather events experienced over the past decade. The strength and path of the...
It’s Not the Heat. It’s the Humidity.

It’s Not the Heat. It’s the Humidity.

SOURCE: Slate and Columbia University DATE: December 22, 2017 SNIP: “It’s not the heat that kills you. It’s the humidity.” As climate change progresses, this is likely to become gruesomely true, according to a new study published Friday in Environmental Research Letters. Climate change–induced increases in humidity could actually exacerbate the effects of heat to the point of making certain places in the world uninhabitable later this century. By 2080, the researchers predict, we’ll see measurements of heat and humidity that go far beyond safe thresholds in which individuals can still function normally. For individuals too poor to afford cooling systems, who have no housing, or anyone with poor health already, the humidity could be lethal. The study’s model predicts that in many places in the world, under worse estimates for global warming rates, those temperatures could stretch for up to 100 to 250 days a year by 2080. [H]undreds of millions could experience a staggering 95 degrees Fahrenheit at 100 percent humidity—which is literally off the charts on the heat index. In “dry” heat terms, this would feel like 170 degrees...
Warm waters juiced Ophelia into the most powerful eastern Atlantic hurricane ever seen

Warm waters juiced Ophelia into the most powerful eastern Atlantic hurricane ever seen

SOURCE: ThinkProgress DATE: October 16, 2017 SNIP: Ex-hurricane Ophelia smashed into Ireland Monday morning with record-breaking gusts of up to 119 mph. The powerful extra-tropical storm — which has already killed two people and blacked-out some 360,000 Irish homes and businesses — is what’s left of the most powerful Eastern Atlantic hurricane ever seen. “This was the first major hurricane making it as far east in the Atlantic as it did,” climatologist Michael Mann told ThinkProgress via email. “Irma was the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to form as far east as it did. As ocean surface temperatures rise, the regions where tropical cyclones can form and intensify are expanding. This latest storm is consistent with that trend.” What do all these powerful storms have in common? Hurricanes “extract heat energy from the ocean to convert it to the power of wind, and the warmer the ocean is, the stronger a hurricane can get,” as meteorologist and former hurricane hunter Jeff Masters has explained. “So, scientists are confident that as we continue to heat up the oceans, we’re going to see more of these high-end perfect...
Iraq sends workers home as ‘ungodly’ heat grips Middle East

Iraq sends workers home as ‘ungodly’ heat grips Middle East

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: Aug 11, 2017 SNIP: While Europe battles with a heatwave named Lucifer, the Middle East is enduring a summer so brutal that even those accustomed to Baghdad’s searing August weather are labelling it “ungodly”. As temperatures rose towards 51C (124F) on Thursday, Iraq’s government declared a mandatory holiday, allowing civil servants to shelter at home. So far this month in the Iraqi capital, every day but one has reached 48C or higher, and the forecast is for the high temperatures to continue for the next week. In Kuwait, where birds have reportedly dropped from the skies, and Riyadh, where building work has ceased this week, locals have called for mercy from a hotter-than-normal air mass that has remained nearly stationary over central Arabia for more than three weeks, stretching the capacity of electricity networks beyond...
Australia faces potentially disastrous consequences of climate change, inquiry told

Australia faces potentially disastrous consequences of climate change, inquiry told

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: Aug 10, 2017 SNIP: Military and climate experts, including a former chief of the defence force, have warned that Australia faces potential “disastrous consequences” from climate change, including “revolving” natural disasters and the forced migration of tens of millions of people across the region, overwhelming security forces and government. [Former defence force chief Adm Chris] Barrie said the security threat of climate change was comparable to that posed by nuclear war, and said the Australian continent would be most affected by changing climate. “We will suffer great effects from these changes, such as new weather patterns; droughts, sea-level rises and storm surges, because we have substantial urban infrastructure built on the coastal fringe; ravages of more intense and more frequent heatwaves and tropical revolving...