Oct 28, 2012

The #Frankenstorm in Climate Context

New York, NY
Andrew C. Revkin
Dot Earth Blog
Image: NOAA
Image: NOAA

What is the role, if any, of greenhouse-drive global warming in this kind of rare system?

It’s easy to say, as some climatologists have, that “climate change is present in every single meteorological event.” As you’ll hear below, some climate scientists are telling me this event is precisely what you’d expect following a summer in which much of the Arctic Ocean was open water.

But there remains far too much natural variability in the frequency and potency of rare and powerful storms — on time scales from decades to centuries — to go beyond pointing to this event being consistent with what’s projected on a human-heated planet...

There are several areas in which greenhouse-driven warming is thought to be a potential influence. The first is in the buildup of heat in southern surface waters...

The other questions related to human-driven climate change are focused on the impact of reduced Arctic sea ice on Northern Hemisphere weather patterns