Experts warn of superstorm era to come

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Experts warn of superstorm era to come Empty Experts warn of superstorm era to come

Post by Earth News on Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:44 pm

Experts warn of superstorm era to come

(CNN) -- Superstorm Sandy was no freak, say experts, but rather a hint of a coming era when millions of Americans will struggle to survive killer weather.

They're telling us we shouldn't be surprised that this 900-mile-wide monster marched up the East Coast this week paralyzing cities and claiming scores of lives.

"It's a foretaste of things to come," Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer told CNN. "Bigger storms and higher sea levels" will pile on to create a "growing threat" in the coming decades.

And New York, he warned, "is highly vulnerable."

900 Mile wide Superstorm Sandy - a sign of things to come
Experts warn of superstorm era to come 1029_s10

Princeton's Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences, recently modeled the effect of climate change on storms. In a paper published by Nature in February, he and three colleagues concluded that the "storm of the century" would become the storm of "every twenty years or less."

The conclusion of Oppenheimer and his colleagues is that storms will become larger and more powerful.
"Climate change will probably increase storm intensity and size simultaneously.

A growing body of evidence links the disappearance of summer ice cover in the Arctic with changing weather patterns.
Over three decades, about 1.3 million square miles of Arctic sea ice has disappeared, equivalent to 42% of the area of the lower 48 states.

Climate models previously projected that the Arctic might lose almost all of its summer ice cover by 2100, but scientists believe the trend is accelerating and that it will be gone long before then.

"In addition to the extent of sea ice, what remains is thinner than it used to be," said Walter Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Here's how it works: Less sea ice means warmer water. Sea surface temperatures off the coast of the Northeast United States are now the highest ever recorded.

"It's like leaving the fridge door open," Meier said. The only way to restrain the process would be to moderate temperature increases, which in turn would depend on lowering carbon dioxide emissions.

Experts warn of superstorm era to come Polar-10

Jennifer Francis at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University has shown that a warmer Arctic tends to slow the jet stream, causing it to meander and in turn prolong weather patterns. It's called Arctic amplification, and it may be helping entrench drought in the northwest United States and lead to warmer summers in the Northern Hemisphere.

But there may be another effect...
"Larger swings in the jet stream allow frigid air from the Arctic to plunge farther south, as well as warm, moist tropical air to penetrate northward," Francis wrote in Yale University's Environment 360 blog. That's pretty much what is happening of late, a spectacular collision of Arctic and tropical weather fronts.
A recent article in the journal Oceanography shed more light on the consequences of Arctic ice melt. Charles Greene at Cornell University and others wrote that fundamental changes in the behavior of the jet stream will "stack the deck in favor of severe winter weather outbreaks in the United States and Europe into the foreseeable future." This includes not only super-canes, but mega blizzards in the upper midwest, mid atlantic and northeast
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