NASA’s Earth Observatory reports that there was a record low Arctic sea ice concentration in June 2005. There was a record-number of typhoons over Japan in 2004. In June, there were reports of a number of record-breaking events in the US. And on July 28, the British News paper The Independent reported on record-breaking rainfall (~1 m) in India, claiming hundreds of lives. These are just a few examples of recent observations. So, what is happening?
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…
The Atlantic hurricane season will soon be upon us again , and no doubt many people will recall last year’s devastating Hurricanes that swept across Florida. There was a great deal of press about these storms, as 3 major hurricanes and 5 tropical storms made landfall in the US. According to HurricaneProtection.com, the last time eight different tropical cyclones impacted the United States coastline in a single season was 1916. There were a total of 15 tropical storms and hurricanes, which means that the total number of storms that year was higher than 95% of the previous years of hurricane observations. There was also a record number of Typhoons over Japan in 2004 (10! The previous record was 6 from 1996) . Typhoons are the same as Hurricanes, but have a different name over the Indian ocean and the western Pacific. They are also known as ‘tropical cyclones’. Furthermore, it was the first time that a tropical cyclone had been observed in the south Atlantic (see WMO Climate News, Jan 2005, p. 12)! So, what’s going on?