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Extreme storms shift attitudes on climate change

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Superstorm Sandy poised to rake the East Coast.

‘Our hope is that researchers will design persuasion strategies that effectively change people’s implicit attitudes without them having to suffer through a disaster’

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — It may sound like a no-brainer, but after experiencing extreme weather first-hand, people tend to think more seriously about climate change, according to researchers at Rutgers University.

Research published in the journal Psychological Science concluded that, after Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, New Jersey residents were more likely to show support for a politician running on a “green” platform, and expressed a greater belief that climate change is caused by human activity. Continue reading

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Climate: The jet stream blues

Melting Arctic ice altering mid-latitude weather patterns

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A huge and persistent ridge of high pressure in the eastern Pacific has been shunting the jet stream northward, preventing storms from reaching Colorado. The pattern has been in place much of the winter, sustaining serious drought conditions across parts of the Southwest. Graphic courtesy San Francisco State University.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — If it feels like the weather has been stuck in a rut, that may not be too far from the truth. The jet stream is slowing down and meandering farther north and south, with more blocking patterns setting up across the northern hemisphere.

That leads to more extreme weather, both on the wet and dry side of the scale, said Rutgers University research professor Dr. Jennifer Francis, speaking at last week’s Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge.

Francis has been studying the connection between vanishing Arctic sea ice and weather in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, and evidence is piling up that the intense warming at high latitudes has serious implications for North America, Europe and Asia. Continue reading

Small fish make big splash in ocean carbon cycle

Fish poop.

Research team studies role of forage fish in sequestering carbon

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A still-popular first-grade book described the heroic efforts of a small fish to make a big splash. Now, it turns out that Arty’s dream wasn’t all that farfetched.

According to a new study by scientists with Rutgers University and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, forage fish like anchovies can play an important role as a biological pump in the cycle that moves carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the depths of the ocean, where its sequestered without adding to heat-trapping woes of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Dr. Grace Saba, of Rutgers University, and professor Deborah Steinberg, of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, shifted their focus away from their long-term studies of copepods to looking at anchovies in the Santa Barbara Channel, off the California coast. Continue reading

Climate: smaller volcanoes found to affect upper atmosphere

A NASA satellite captures a view of the smoke billowing from the Nabro Volcano in Ethiopia during a June 2011 eruption.

New study to help inform climate models

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Using data from sensitive satellite instruments, researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have determined relatively small volcanic eruptions can affect climate on a global level, as aerosols from the eruptions are transported into the upper levels of the atmosphere by weather systems like monsoons.

“If an aerosol is in the lower atmosphere, it’s affected by the weather and it precipitates back down right away,” said Adam Bourass, with university of Saskatchewan’s Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies. “Once it reaches the stratosphere, it can persist for years, and with that kind of a sustained lifetime, it can really have a lasting effect,” Bourass said, explaining that the particles scatter incoming sunlight, thus cooling the Earth’s surface. Continue reading

Global Warming: ‘Revenge of the atmosphere’

A warming Arctic is changing the configuration of the jet stream, which affects mid-latitude weather. GRAPHIC COURTESY NOAA.

Rutgers researcher identifies links between Arctic warming, mid-latitude weather patterns

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — With Arctic sea ice shrinking fast — losing 40 percent of its mass between 1980 and 2007 — widespread effects on climate and weather are inevitable, according to Jennifer Francis, with Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

“How can it not affect the weather? It’s such a huge loss in the Earth’s system,” Francis said, speaking Jan. 13 and the Glenn Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge, Colorado. Continue reading

‘Arctic paradox’ explored at Breckenridge weather summit

Click on the image for more information on Greenland's rapidly thinning ice cap.

Final day of  weather conference looks at global climate factors

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —Along with steadily increasing temperatures, climate researchers say that global warming will result in more extreme weather events, including droughts, floods, cold snaps and heat waves.

The mechanisms driving those extremes aren’t completely understood, but one factor could be the so-called Arctic paradox, with warmer air over the polar region displacing colder air to the south.

The first session of the final day at the 2012 Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge will explore the link between the warmer Arctic regime and last winter’s severe snowstorms and cold temperatures in mid-latitudes, especially along the U.S. east coast and in Europe.

All the presentations are webcast live at the summit’s USTREAM channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/weather-and-climate-summit Continue reading

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