Just Released! Order “Waking Up to Climate Change” by George Ropes, and receive 25% Discount. Learn More

Close this search box.
Close this search box.

HOME          CATEGORIES          OUR TAKE

Blocking patterns: How global warming might have worsened US drought

According to NOAA, September 2011 through August 2012 was the warmest 12-month period on record and summer 2012 was the third warmest summer on record for the continental US. In addition, about 63% of the country was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought at the end of August. Experts believe that small changes triggered by global warming could be intensifying these extremes. One possible contributor is the decline in Arctic sea ice, which reached a record low this past summer. More open ocean and an increase in heat escape to the atmosphere in polar regions tend to slow the jet stream and cause it to meander further north and south. The movement of the meanders also slows, causing weather patterns to persist for longer periods of time. In addition, earlier snowmelt in the spring and a later onset of snow in the fall causes the soil to dry out and contributes to warmer temperatures in spring and summer. Another study has attributed extremes in other countries (Russia, Brazil, Pakistan and Colombia) to record warm sea-surface temperatures in the northern Indian Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and the tropical Pacific. The atmosphere, already warmed by climate change and capable of holding more moisture caused more intense storms to form in these regions and their associated release of heat to the atmosphere caused significant changes in circulation patterns worldwide. Experts believe that the direct impact of global warming on most of these weather patterns is small, although this small contribution has been enough to trigger feedbacks that intensify the warming indirectly.

Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.


More Posts Like This


How Climate Change is Changing My Home City

As a person living in a coastal city, more specifically New York City, my area of living is a prime target for climate change occurrences. From rising sea levels and temperatures to structures being damaged or completely destroyed, a lot will change and has changed in my home,


Climate Change and the Industries of the World

It’s no surprise that when the climate of an area changes, it impacts most, if not all of their industries and way of life of countries. Some of these industries include tourism, agriculture, fishery, and infrastructure, which all dictate the economy and life quality of the residents in


Cloud Computing: Driving Environmental Sustainability in the Digital Age

Sustainable technology, known as Green IT, is reshaping the way we approach technology in business and industry. It emphasizes developing and using technology without harming the environment. Cloud computing is a prime example of sustainable technology. It allows companies to store data on external servers which reduces costs and infrastructure