Tag Archives: hurricanes

Hurricanes are worse, but experience, gender and politics determine if you believe it

Objective measurements of storm intensity show that North Atlantic hurricanes have grown more destructive in recent decades. But coastal residents’ views on the matter depend less on scientific fact and more on their gender, belief in climate change and recent experience with hurricanes, according to a new study by researchers at Princeton University, Auburn University-Montgomery, the Louisiana State University and Texas A&M University. (more…)

Read More

Evolutionary study shows bridge species drive tropical engine of biodiversity

Although scientists have known since the middle of the 19th century that the tropics are teeming with species while the poles harbor relatively few, the origin of the most dramatic and pervasive biodiversity on Earth has never been clear.

New research sheds light on how that pattern came about. Furthermore, it confirms that the tropics have been and continue to be the Earth’s engine of biodiversity. (more…)

Read More

Forecast for Titan: Wild Weather Could be Ahead

Saturn’s moon Titan might be in for some wild weather as it heads into its spring and summer, if two new models are correct. Scientists think that as the seasons change in Titan’s northern hemisphere, waves could ripple across the moon’s hydrocarbon seas, and hurricanes could begin to swirl over these areas, too. The model predicting waves tries to explain data from the moon obtained so far by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Both models help mission team members plan when and where to look for unusual atmospheric disturbances as Titan summer approaches.

“If you think being a weather forecaster on Earth is difficult, it can be even more challenging at Titan,” said Scott Edgington, Cassini’s deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “We know there are weather processes similar to Earth’s at work on this strange world, but differences arise due to the presence of unfamiliar liquids like methane. We can’t wait for Cassini to tell us whether our forecasts are right as it continues its tour through Titan spring into the start of northern summer.” (more…)

Read More

Coral reefs’ collapse isn’t inevitable, researchers say

Coral reefs are in decline, but their collapse can still be avoided with local and global action.

That’s according to findings reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 9th based on an analysis that combines the latest science on reef dynamics with the latest climate models.

“People benefit by reefs having a complex structure – a little like a Manhattan skyline but underwater,” said Peter Mumby of The University of Queensland and University of Exeter. “Structurally-complex reefs provide nooks and crannies for thousands of species and provide the habitat needed to sustain productive reef fisheries. They’re also great fun to visit as a snorkeler or diver. If we carry on the way we have been, the ability of reefs to provide benefits to people will seriously decline.” (more…)

Read More

Two-thirds of Americans Now Believe Global Warming is Real

ANN ARBOR — An increasing number of Americans indicate that there is evidence of global warming, with 67 percent now expressing a belief that the planet has warmed over the past four decades, according to a University of Michigan survey.

It marks the highest level of belief in global warming since a 72 percent-measure in 2008 and is up from 52 percent in spring 2010.

The results come from the National Surveys on Energy and Environment, a joint effort of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at U-M’s Ford School of Public Policy and the Muhlenberg Institute of Public Opinion at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. (more…)

Read More

Interview with Prof. Richard Rood: ‘The Saga of Climate Change’

Richard Rood, is a professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences at the University of Michigan. He loves discussing the intersections of weather and climate, and climate and society. One of his current projects involves studying trends in extreme heat events. Rood is a blogger at Weather Underground and teaches a class on climate change problem solving.

As climate change is a favourite topic of Prof. Rood, so here we go. We have questions for him.

Q: How would you define ‘climate change?’

Richard Rood: As a basic definition, climate change would be an increase or decrease in the mean of the fundamental parameters we use to measure the Earth’s environment. This requires definition of several items: the parameters, what part of the environment, the amount of time used to calculate the mean, the spatial extent over which the parameters span, etc. Important amounts of time for our discussions of climate change are human, for example, the life span of the infrastructure in our cities. A common definition would be changes in the global average, surface air temperature, where the baseline is defined as a 30-year average. This is a weather- and atmosphere- based definition. (more…)

Read More

In Blown-Down Forests, a Story of Survival

To preserve forest health, the best management decision may be to do nothing

In newscasts after intense wind and ice storms, damaged trees stand out: snapped limbs, uprooted trunks, entire forests blown nearly flat.

In a storm’s wake, landowners, municipalities and state agencies are faced with important financial and environmental decisions.

A study by Harvard University researchers, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and published in the journal Ecology, yields a surprising result: when it comes to the health of forests, native plants and wildlife, the best management decision may be to do nothing. (more…)

Read More

Economic Cost of Weather May Total $485 Billion in U.S.

*Routine weather events can add up to huge annual economic impact*

Everything has its price, even the weather.

New research indicates that routine weather events such as rain and cooler-than-average days can add up to an annual economic impact of as much as $485 billon in the United States.

The study, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), found that finance, manufacturing, agriculture and every other sector of the economy is sensitive to changes in the weather. The impacts can be felt in every state. (more…)

Read More