Will A Warmer World Be Stormier?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Over the next century, the Earth is expected to warm by several degrees due to continued and increasing emissions of greenhouse gases. Some of the impacts of this anthropogenic climate change can be predicted with a high degree of confidence: Warming almost everywhere, but especially at higher latitudes; rising sea level; melting of Arctic sea ice; wet regions becoming wetter, and dry regions becoming drier. Other impacts are more difficult to predict, since they depend on the behavior of physical processes that are not represented explicitly in global climate models. Among the phenomena of greatest interest to the general public are storms of all kinds – everyday synoptic midlatitude storms, hurricanes, thunderstorms and severe storms, and the extreme precipitation, lightning, hail, and winds that accompany them. We will discuss current thinking on how each of these types of storms might be expected to change as the climate warms. A general emerging theme is the possibility that we will see fewer storms overall in a warmer climate, but that the strongest storms may become more frequent and/or stronger.
Anthony D. Del Genio
NASA Goddard Institute for Space StudiesAnthony Del Genio is a Physical Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Columbia University. He received the B.S. from Cornell University in 1973, and the M.S. (1975) and Ph.D. (1978) from UCLA. His research focuses on the role of clouds and moist convection in climate change. He also studies the comparative dynamics of planetary atmospheres. Del Genio is a Principal Investigator or Team Member on the NASA CloudSat/CALIPSO mission, Global Precipitation Mission, and the Cassini Saturn mission, and on the DOE Atmospheric System Research project. He is an Editor for Journal of Climate. Del Genio was elected an American Meteorological Society Fellow in 2007 and received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 2008. He has been awarded the NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance 10 times, the GISS Best Publication Award 10 times, and the Columbia Earth and Environmental Sciences Graduate Teaching Prize 3 times. Del Genio has authored 131 articles, 109 peer-reviewed.