Archive by category | Atmospheric Science

Forecasting the future of hurricanes

The world’s most advanced simulation of extreme weather on a warming Earth completed its first run last Friday – though the data won’t be fully digested into human-readable format until spring. Yesterday I talked to meteorologist Greg Holland, co-leader of the study, at the Willis insurance company’s London office – whose cycle racks, I can report, are tucked away discreetly across the street from its intimidatingly curved and purple-lit lobby.  Read more

AGU Chapman Conference on water vapor – the final report

The AGU Chapman Conference on water vapour and its role in climate has come to a close, and I have headed back to not so sunny London. In addition to getting scientists out of the lab, the meeting afforded great opportunities for normally independent communities to interact. Pupu platters and Longboard Ales led to a very interesting discussion about the meaning of terms such as mean global precipitation and temperature rise. Are statistics such as these preventing scientists from meaningfully communicating results about climate change? This of course comes back to old faithful argument “if the Earth is getting warmer, why did it snow last week?” Definitely something to think about when preparing press releases or giving interviews.  Read more

Hurricanes and sea surface temperature: all relative?

Hurricanes and sea surface temperature: all relative?

With a month to go until its official finish, the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season has seen more damage, as measured in dollars, than any other year except the monster 2005 season. Scientists have yet to agree whether human-induced climate change has caused spiking Atlantic hurricane activity since the early 1990s – and while the season has raged on, researchers have continued to go back and forth on whether worse is in store as the ocean keeps warming. Science this week has the latest salvo in the longtime debate: a Perspective (subscription) by Gabriel Vecchi of NOAA, Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Brian Soden of the University of Miami.  Read more

AGU Chapman conference: water vapor and climate

I’m here in Kailua Kona for the AGU Chapman conference on atmospheric water vapor and its role in climate. Given the high humidity and afternoon rain, the topic seems quite appropriate.  Read more

Cyclones’ carbon capturing

Cyclones’ carbon capturing

Cross-posted from Daniel Cressey on The Great Beyond Cyclones appear to be responsible for a large amount of organic carbon tied up in ocean sediments. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, Robert Hilton and colleagues report on the impact of cyclone-induced floods on carbon in the LiWu River in Taiwan. They found that between 77 and 92% of non-fossil carbon eroded from the LiWu catchment area was moved during floods linked to cyclones. As increased sea surface temperatures from global warming could increase the intensity of cyclones, this could create negative feedback, with bigger cyclones locking up more organic  … Read more

Blowing in the wind

A new study, published online Sunday by Nature Geoscience, presents solid evidence that temperatures in the Earth’s lower atmosphere are increasing in line with temperature changes on the ground.  Read more