Is extreme weather caused by global warming?
Whenever there is an extreme weather event, such as a flood or drought, people ask whether that event was caused by global warming. Unfortunately, there is. Extreme weather gets a boost from climate change year, it's likely that human- caused global warming is making extreme heat events more frequent. And scientists are studying a possible connection between a warming Arctic and cold . Billion-Dollar Extreme Weather Events, steps to prepare for more extreme weather. Learn more about the links between climate change and.
How global warming affects weather parameters Rising temperatures can have several effects on the factors involved in weather. They increase the rate of evapotranspiration, which is the total evaporation of water from soil, plants and water bodies. This can have a direct effect on the fequency and intensity of droughts. A warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour. This increases the risk of extreme rainfall events.
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Changes in sea-surface temperatures SSTs also have an effect by bringing about associated changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation. This has been implicated in some droughts, particularly in the tropics.
These changes don't automatically generate extreme weather events but they change the odds that such events will take place. It is equivalent to the loading of dice, leading to one side being heavier, so that a certain outcome becomes more likely.
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In the context of global warming, this means that rising temperatures increase the odds of extreme events occurring. The Northeast and Midwest have seen the greatest increase in such events. Atlantic hurricanes have increased both in power and frequency, coinciding with warming oceans that provide energy to these storms.
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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: National Climatic Data Center. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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