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Coming Up: When is the Next Hurricane Coming to Your Home Town? by ClimateYou Editor Abby Luby

Predicting tomorrow’s extreme climate change weather is not just a hunch.  Tornadoes, hurricanes, heatwaves, torrential downpours, droughts – we’ve are seeing more and more of them. Knowing what locations have been hardest hit by climate change weather gives scientists necessary data to predict where the next severe weather will happen. This data is now available to everyone via a new interactive online map that uses some 50 years of weather data from the WorldClim database of global climate data collected from 50,000 weather stations around the world.

A climatogram of Cincinnati, generated by the map

 

Called ClimateEx, the map was created by Tomasz Stepinski, a geography professor at the University of Cincinnati who says “When people think about climate change, they think about temperature: global warming. But climate has many components, including precipitation. People often consider temperature and precipitation separately. But our mathematical model includes both.” The model lets us see the most dramatic changes in climate over time, including the warming arctic. You can also see how the weather has changed since 2000 and what it will be like in 2070. For instance, the map indicates that Central America and the northern part of South America are at risk of increased heat and rainfall, as are Papua New Guinea, southeastern China, the west coast of the US and most importantly for sea level change, Greenland and the Arctic. Stepinski says the climate is always changing. “But it usually changes on a geological timescale. It’s not surprising that the climate today is different from the climate a half-million years ago. But now we’re experiencing changes on a scale of 100 years. That’s a completely different thing.”

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2 Responses

  1. This new interactive online map called ClimateEx seems like a very helpful and useful tool to predict temperature and precipitation in the future. We are seeing changes in extreme weather and climate events. Human-induced climate change has already increased the number and strength of some of these extreme events. Over the last 50 years, much of the U.S. has seen increases in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, heavy downpours, and in some regions, severe floods and droughts. We’ve seen prolonged heat waves that leads to droughts. As soil dries out, a larger proportion of the incoming heat from the sun goes into heating the soil and adjacent air rather than evaporating its moisture, resulting in hotter summers under drier climatic conditions. Many southern states are setting records for heat waves and droughts. The heaviest rainfall events have become heavier and more frequent, and the amount of rain falling on the heaviest rain days has also increased. Since 1991, the amount of rain falling in very heavy precipitation events has been 30% above average. This has been greatest in the Northeast, Midwest, and upper Great Plains. There has also been an increase in flooding events in the Midwest and Northeast. Warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air resulting in an increase in the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. This extra moisture is available to storm systems, resulting in heavier rainfalls. Climate change also alters characteristics of the atmosphere that affect weather patterns and storms. Hurricanes have increased dramatically since the 1980s. We’ve seen the intensity, frequency, duration and the number of strongest (Category 4 and 5) storms. These factors are due to higher sea surface temperatures in the region that Atlantic hurricanes form in and move through. Numerous factors have been shown to influence these local sea surface temperatures, including natural variability, human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases, and particulate pollution. Just last year we saw 4 major hurricanes devastate part of the U.S., Puerto Rico and the virgin islands. By late this century, models, on average, project an increase in the number of the strongest category 4 and 5 hurricanes. They also project greater rainfall rates in hurricanes in a warmer climate. The amount of winter storms and nor easters have also increased. Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity since the 1950s, and their tracks have shifted northward over the United States. Hopefully ClimateEx can help with predicting the weather and give people more time to prepare to minimize damage.

    1. thanks for adding so much information to this topic, to what we can expect in the changing weather patterns and climate.

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