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Study says extreme weather doesn’t sway public opinion on global warming

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Extreme weather events don’t seem to affect people’s beliefs on global warming, new research shows.

Ideology trumps science

Staff Report

FRISCO — A string of extreme global weather events between 2010 and 2012 didn’t do much to change public opinion about global warming, according to a new study by Michigan State University researchers.

They started their research with polling data collected in March 2012, after by far the warmest U.S. winter in recent memory. But most people surveyed didn’t link the unusually warm weather with global warming. In fact, only 35 percent of U.S. citizens thought that global warming caused the warm winter, according to the paper published this week in Nature Climate Change. Continue reading

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Climate: Researchers track disruptive Arctic rain events

Warm spells affect permafrost and wildlife

Caption: Arctic foxes in Svalbard will have more than enough food during rainy and icy winters because there will be many reindeer carcasses for them to eat. The next winter, however, the fox population size will be reduced because a robust and small reindeer population will mean many few deaths and hence, very little carrion. Credit: Brage B. Hansen, NTNU Centre for Conservation Biology

Caption: Arctic foxes in Svalbard will have more than enough food during rainy and icy winters because there will be many reindeer carcasses for them to eat. The next winter, however, the fox population size will be reduced because a robust and small reindeer population will mean many few deaths and hence, very little carrion.
Credit: Brage B. Hansen, NTNU Centre for Conservation Biology.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A closely studied 2012 rain-on-snow event in Svalbard, Norway gave researchers a chance to take a close look at how global warming may play out on the fringes of the Arctic, where humans eke out a delicate existence in balance with the elements.

The extreme weather event in January brought record warmth to the cluster of islands inside the Arctic Circle, with high temperatures climbing well above freezing at a time of year when average readings are well below freezing. Continue reading

Global warming: New EU research projects frequent life-threatening heatwaves

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It’s all but certain that global warming will result in more frequent life-threatening heatwaves.

How hot will it get?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Life-threatening heatwaves like the blazing Russian summer of 2010 will occur as often as every two years across southern Europe, Africa and the Americas if global warming continues at its present pace.

Climate scientists already know that more heatwaves are one of the most certain consequences of more heat-trapping pollution in the atmosphere, and a new index developed by the European Union’s Joint Research Center provides a way to compare heat waves over space and time. It takes into account both the duration and intensity of heat waves and can serve as a benchmark for evaluating the impacts of future climate change. Continue reading

Climate: Forecasters eye ‘super storm’ near Alaska

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Is a super storm winding up in the Bering Sea?

Big cyclone to affect weather across North America

Staff Report

FRISCO — Weather watchers are closely tracking what could become the strongest storm on record in the Gulf of Alaska.

What was once Typhoon Nuri is heading into the Bering Sea, west of Alaska, and some forecasters expect the storm’s central low pressure to drop below 930 millibars on Friday night — even lower than Hurricane Sandy’s. The current record stands at 925 millibars from a powerful storm that moved over the Bering Sea on Oct. 25, 1977. Continue reading

Study: Tornado season becoming more variable

A new NOAA study tracks the occurrence of seasonal tornadoes across the U.S.

A new NOAA study tracks the occurrence of seasonal tornadoes across the U.S.

Fewer outbreaks, but more twisters?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Tracking tornado trends is a big deal in the global warming era, as researchers seek to determine whether climate change will result in more catastrophic and life-threatening weather events.

Since the 1950s, researchers say, the overall number of annual tornadoes has remained steady, but a new analysis of data shows  there are fewer days with tornadoes each year, but on those days there are more tornadoes.

A consequence of this is that communities should expect an increased number of catastrophes, said lead author Harold Brooks, research meteorologist with the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. Continue reading

Study: 1934 Dust Bowl still the Godzilla of North American droughts

A dust storm engulfs Stratford, Texas in April of 1935. The drought of 1934 was likely made worse by dust storms triggered by the poor agricultural practices of the time. Credit: NOAA/George E. Marsh Album.

A dust storm engulfs Stratford, Texas in April of 1935. The drought of 1934 was likely made worse by dust storms triggered by the poor agricultural practices of the time.
Credit: NOAA/George E. Marsh Album.

Severe dust storms spawned even more widespread drought, research shows

Staff Report

FRISCO — With all the recent talk of looming megadroughts, the 1934 peak of the Dust Bowl era still remains the most severe and widespread drought in North America during the past 1,000 years, climate scientists say.

Based on tree-ring studies and other physical records, the only other comparable event was way back in the 1500s.

The extent of the 1934 drought was approximately seven times larger than droughts of comparable intensity that struck North America between 1000 A.D. and 2005, and was caused in part by an atmospheric phenomenon that may have also led to the current drought in California, according to a new study. Continue reading

Climate: UK weather trends toward extremes

An extratropical cyclone

An extratropical cyclone

North Atlantic pressure variations driving variable pattern

Staff Report

FRISCO — Weather patterns affecting the UK are  becoming more volatile, climate researchers concluded in a new study, concluding that the trend is being driven by extreme variations in pressure over the North Atlantic.

The month of December is showing the biggest variation, but contrasting conditions, from very mild, wet and stormy to extremely cold and snowy are a clear sign of less stable weather, University of Sheffield scientists reported in a study published last month in the Journal of Climatology.

Winter weather conditions are commonly defined using the North Atlantic Oscillation, a south-north seesaw of barometric pressure variations over the North Atlantic which determine the strength of the westerly winds that shape North Atlantic weather systems. Continue reading

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