U.S. weather extremes show ‘new normal’ climate


U.S. weather extremes show 'new normal' climate A child's doll sits among the ruins of homes badly damaged in April 27's deadly tornados in Tuscaloosa, Alabama May 2, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Celano

U.S. weather extremes show 'new normal' climate A child's doll sits among the ruins of homes badly damaged in April 27's deadly tornados in Tuscaloosa, Alabama May 2, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Celano

Heavy rains, deep snowfalls,monster floods and killing droughts are signs of a “new normal”of extreme U.S.

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) – Heavy rains, deep snowfalls, monster floods and killing droughts are signs of a “new normal” of extreme U.S. weather events fueled by climate change, scientists and government planners said on Wednesday.

“It’s a new normal and I really do think that global weirding is the best way to describe what we’re seeing,” climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University told reporters.

“We are used to certain conditions and there’s a lot going on these days that is not what we’re used to, that is outside our current frame of reference,” Hayhoe said on a conference call with other experts, organized by the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists.

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3 Responses to U.S. weather extremes show ‘new normal’ climate

  1. Vadim says:

    You forgot unprecedented cold winters. Is that a sign of the ‘new normal’ too?

    • Alan Burke says:

      It does fit into the category of increased severity of extreme weather. The “Greenland Block” which has played havoc with weather was seen once in the 1960’s and was included in a recent study (before this one hit) but I don’t have a citation right at hand. I’ll try to find it tomorrow.

    • Alan Burke says:

      A Review of the North Atlantic Circulation, Marine Climate Change and its Impact on North European Climate (PDF)

      Steffen M. Olsen and Erik Buch
      Danish Meteorological Institute

      Page 33

      A high-pressure system over Greenland builds up during wintertime. This results in a high frequency of northerly winds and record hard cooling over the Greenland Sea in the 1960s, which was favorable for the convection in the Greenland Sea through direct cooling as well as through brine rejection from the increased sea ice formation. The northerly winds increased the transport of low saline water from the Arctic Ocean to the Labrador Sea in the form of the Great Salinity Anomaly, which shut down the deep convection in this area. The Greenland High, together with a low pressure system over South eastern USA, caused a regime of cold winter air temperatures
      and extreme snow cover at the east coast of USA. This drew the center of maximum storm activity far to the south-west as compared to normal, thus reducing the storminess over the Labrador Sea and increasing it over the Sargasso Sea causing increased formation and ventilation of the so called 18-degree Water.

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