Friday, January 29, 2016

A Theory Explaining Why Severe Weather is Occurring



Piecing the current theory together:

Global warming is slowing the gulf stream system, also known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The AMOC is a gigantic ocean system that’s driven by differences in temperature and the salinity of sea water. Ocean temperatures off the U.S. east coast are warming faster than global average temperatures and there’s a “cold blob” in the subpolar Atlantic understood to be sourced from Greenland ice-melt water. These latter two features are regarded (by some scientists) as a characteristic response to a warmer world. The slowdown of the AMOC is in turn, a result of the ocean freshening at high latitudes due to these large infusions of meltwater from Greenland resulting in a cooling in the North Atlantic region, as less ocean heat reaches the region — aka, the “blob.”. The far North Atlantic waters are being diluted by the Greenland melt waters and are no longer salty enough. Therefore the waters don’t sink as much, and this slows (or may even eventually shut down the AMOC circulation. The AMOC global conveyor has been weakening, by the way, since the late 1930s. The slowing of the Gulf Steam System/AMOC should drive faster sea level rise on the East Coast where sea level rise for a 600-mile-long “hotspot” along the East Coast (north of Cape Hatteras) has already been measured at “3-4 times higher than global average”. A 2015 discussion paper by some of the world’s leading climatologists argues that “Shutdown or substantial slowdown of the AMOC, besides possibly contributing to extreme end-Eemian (brief? sea level) events, will cause a more general increase of severe weather.”

REFERENCES:
(i) The surprising way that climate change could worsen East Coast blizzards
By Chris Mooney January 25, 2016
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/01/25/climate-scientist-why-a-changing-ocean-circulation-could-worsen-east-coast-blizzards/?postshare=1471453766419405&tid=ss_tw

(ii) Recent studies from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that ocean temperatures off the U.S. East Coast are expected to warm three times faster than the global average. The warming coincides with increased C02 emissions.

(iii) Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, an expert on the Atlantic circulation phenomenon known by the technical name meridional overturning circulation, or AMOC.

(iv) The Greenland melt. Eric Steig. 23 January 2013.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/01/the-greenland-melt/

(v) Is Climate Change Supercharging Storms Like Jonas And Sandy More Than We Thought? by Joe Romm Jan 25, 2016 4:41 pm
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/01/25/3742321/climate-change-jonas-sandy/

(vi) Blizzard Jonas and the slowdown of the Gulf Stream System.
Stefan. 24 January 2016
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016/01/blizzard-jonas-and-the-slowdown-of-the-gulf-stream-system/

 

1 comment:

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