Media Re-actions to Extreme Weather

December 2015 was the hottest in the UK since temperature records began.  And it deserved that record by a wide margin:  the December average temperature for England was more than double the long-term average and more than 2 degrees warmer than the previous high set in 1934. UK scientists don’t have to draw graphs, analyse … Read more

Only the Climate has changed!

Four years ago the City of Memphis was flooded by the Ohio River, a tributary of the Mississippi river, causing $2 billion of damage. Now Southern US states are bracing themselves for major flooding as surging waters that have inundated parts of Missouri and Illinois flow down the Mississippi. Jay Nixon, governor of Missouri, toured … Read more

Please World – get this straight!

As has been said so often:  global warming increases the intensity and frequency of natural weather systems.  Or – to put it another way – global warming is a significant contributor to the extreme weather events we are experiencing. This comparison was popular a couple of years back:  a star baseball player, famous for his … Read more

The Prospect of Resiliency

In January 2013, Norm Kelly, now the Deputy Mayor of Toronto, reacted with scepticism to a study by experts describing the impact that climate change will have on Toronto. Kelly estimated that accepting the recommendations in the study would require billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades.

Kelly and other councillors shrugged off concerns that climate change would contribute to more frequent and more severe extreme weather events.  Kelly said that warmer temperatures in the future “tain’t bad”.   In effect Tennessee’s climate of today will be Toronto’s climate tomorrow. Perhaps he did not appreciate that extreme heat waves cause serious problems for seniors and in other countries have lead to a spike in deaths of aged people?

Read moreThe Prospect of Resiliency

Global Warming doesn’t mean “no more winter”!

The Polar Vortex (aka the Arctic Oscillation) has been the subject of comments in 4RG. Follow these links to see how 4RG has tracked changes in this generator of the cold weather North American has been experiencing this year.

Go to last year’s commentary on the winter of 2013 – the blog was based on articles from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Met Office.  Here is what we wrote:

 “. . . the Arctic Polar Jet Stream has gone “loopy”.  Usually the jet stream is a fast flowing high atmospheric air current found between air masses of significantly different temperature.  With the warming of the Arctic the temperature difference is less so the jet stream is weakening.   As it weakens, it starts to meander, looping to the South. The most recent atmospheric charts of the jet stream show significant loops.” [“Loopy”=1. full of loops. 2.Slang. a. eccentric; crazy; dotty . . . ]

Speaking of “ crazy” is there anything crazier than the Southern California experience of no rain for months ending with extreme rainfall from thunderstorms that brought mudslides, impassable roads, sinkholes, flash floods, power outages . . . you name it.  But according to TIME Magazine no relief from the drought conditions!

Read moreGlobal Warming doesn’t mean “no more winter”!

Sleepwalking to Catastrophe – Again!

Over the past five plus years governments everywhere have been belt-tightening to counter the effects of the 2008-2009 recession. The result was less money for infrastructure to combat climate change.

In England, the Environmental Agency, a state organization independent of the Government of the day, has the responsibility to develop defences against flooding.  It published its first national assessment of flood risk for England in 2009. The foreword included these assurances:

“While celebrating the advances that this report provides, it is important to remember that the technology and   skills available to map and measure risk are still developing. Rising sea levels and increasingly severe and frequent rainstorms caused by climate change mean that the risk of flooding will increase. This assessment is one step in an ongoing journey that we must take to ensure that our understanding of the risks keeps pace with these changes. It will be regularly updated, improved and published to keep you informed and to help us work together to manage floods.”

Read moreSleepwalking to Catastrophe – Again!

Record Rainfalls, High Winds and Waves, Extensive Flooding

January 2014 rains in the UK set numerous records. According to the U.K. Met Office, the south of England experienced one of the most exceptional periods of winter rainfall since at least 1766, the year weather records were first kept.

The magnitude of the downpour lead to a record number of warnings issued by the U.K. Environment Agency: eight severe flood warnings for locations along the Thames (down from 14 the same day) advising of a threat to life and property, and nearly 400 less serious flood warnings and alerts for other areas.

Dame Julia Slingo, the Chief Scientist at the UK Weather Office, described the link between the extreme rainfall and climate change as almost certain, although there was not “definite proof”. She also warned that the country should prepare itself for more similar events in future.

Read moreRecord Rainfalls, High Winds and Waves, Extensive Flooding