In the eye of the storm

All - Sep 06 2018

Weekly food for thought

As of today, the precise impact of climate change on the frequency of extreme weather events has not yet been clarified. What we do already know is that climate change will create more intense rainfalls. A given volume of air contains a definite amount of water vapor. When the temperature rises, more water evaporates from warmer oceans and the quantity of vapor in the atmosphere increases. The air saturation threshold, at which vapor is turned back to liquid water, is thus reached sooner. Consequently, precipitations get more intense with greater volumes of rainfall pouring in shorter amounts of time. It is currently estimated that a global warming of 1°C will increase the level of atmosphere humidity by 7%. Storms are also expected to get stronger. According to the former vice-president of the IPCC Jean Jouzel, the number of lightning impacts should increase by 50% by 2100. In France for instance, May 2018 broke all records with 182,000 lightning impacts registered, the previous record standing at 84,000 impacts in May 2009. Another recent study carried out by James Kossin from NOAA reveals that the translation speed of tropical-cyclones has slowed by 10% between 1949 and 2016. This slower motion causes violent winds and heavy rainfalls to stay longer in one location, ultimately generating more disastrous inundations and worse storm damages.

 

Claire Hugo, Analyst  –  Sources: Beyond Ratings, Jean Jouzel (former IPCC VP), James Kossin (NOAA)

 

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