by Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann
In a sure-to-be widely publicized paper in the Dec. 1 Nature, Bryden et al. present results from oceanographic cruises at 25°N across the Atlantic showing a ~30% decline in the ocean overturning circulation. These cruises have been repeated every few years since 1957, and the last two cruises (in 1998 and 2004) show notable changes in the structure of the deep return circulation. In particular, the very deepest part of the return flow (at around 3000 to 5000 m) has reduced and moved up in the water column compared to previous decades. How solid is this result and what might it imply for climate?
by Stefan Rahmstorf, Michael Mann, Rasmus Benestad, Gavin Schmidt, and William Connolley
On Monday August 29, Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Louisiana and Missisippi, leaving a trail of destruction in her wake. It will be some time until the full toll of this hurricane can be assessed, but the devastating human and environmental impacts are already obvious.
Katrina was the most feared of all meteorological events, a major hurricane making landfall in a highly-populated low-lying region. In the wake of this devastation, many have questioned whether global warming may have contributed to this disaster. Could New Orleans be the first major U.S. city ravaged by human-caused climate change?
Earlier this year, we posted two discussions on the association between climate change and storms: Storms and Climate Change and Some recent updates. I will use the abbreviation TC here in the loose meaning of a tropical cyclone. These posts discussed the high number of TCs during the previous hurricane season and an essay on the relation between TCs and climate change. The uncertainty surrounding trends in storminess was underlined, and a point was being made about this subject being controversial. More »
A couple of recent papers in Science this week relate to discussions we have had on RealClimate recently. The first by Curry and Mauritzen relates to the Gulf Stream Slowdown? post and describes the amount of fresh water that has been added to the North Atlantic over the last few decades (calculated from a database of salinity measurements) and what impact that has had on density and overturning circulations. There is a press release available at WHOI which is quite informative (hat tip to Joseph O’Sullivan for the link).
The second is related to the Storms and Climate Change post and is a perspective by Kevin Trenberth on the potential for a hurricanes and global warming link. The NCAR press release is available here.
These will undoubtedly not be the last word on the subject, and so we will probably be revisiting these topics at some point soon…
Switch to our mobile site