We live in an ocean of air: however the thin, fragile membrane that envelops our planet is changing from one state to another.
The ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases are trapping more and more heat.
By changing the chemistry of the atmosphere, we change the climate.
Welcome to the anthropocene.
The following paper with the less than sexy title of Quasiresonant amplification of planetary waves and recent Northern Hemisphere weather extremes is getting quite a bit of attention. An early edition of the paper is now available on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) website (see link).
It is a dense, technical piece. If you have the fortitude or technical ability then I highly recommend it. The research was conducted at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. This is deep science, not the faux science of an 800 word post on Watts up with that?
It describes the mechanism that has been driving the devastating extremes across the northern hemisphere these past few years. In short, climate change is repeatedly disturbing the patterns of airflow around the northern hemisphere.
In recent years, the Northern Hemisphere has suffered several devastating regional summer weather extremes, such as the European heat wave in 2003, the Russian heat wave and the Indus river flood in Pakistan in 2010, and the heat wave in the United States in 2011. Here, we propose a common mechanism for the generation of persistent longitudinal planetary-scale high-amplitude patterns of the atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes. Those patterns—with zonal wave numbers m = 6, 7, or 8—are characteristic of the above extremes. We show that these patterns might result from trapping within midlatitude waveguides of free synoptic waves with zonal wave numbers k ≈ m. Usually, the quasistationary dynamical response with the above wave numbers m to climatological mean thermal and orographic forcing is weak. Such midlatitude waveguides, however, may favor a strong magnification of that response through quasiresonance.
The even shorter abstract: the recent destructive climate events in the heatwaves in the US and Europe, the flooding in China and Japan in 2012 can be attributed to changed atmospheric conditions.
See also this fantastic video on extreme weather:
Quote: “Weather that forms now, forms in a different state”.
In other words, the attribution debate is over: we’ve loaded the weather dice against ourselves.
Signal from the noise: climate change is having a deadly impact already.
I’m interested in readers thoughts, especially those of you with technical backgrounds in climate on this paper.