5 October 2009

Is Climate Change Affecting Your Weather Now?? Yes

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Water Vapor Imagery of Western North America. (from NOAA)

Water Vapor Imagery of Western North America. (from NOAA)

I have mentioned before the strange weather patterns recently and that a friend of mine at the Weather Channel has been looking into it in depth. It was Stu Ostro who first got me to looking at it from a climate perspective, and once he told me what to look for, I saw it showing up all over the place.

You have to be careful about ascribing any weather event to climate change. Climate is what you expect, and weather is what you get. One of the most common mistakes, I see online in some websites, is blaming climate change on a weather catastrophe somewhere.

You cannot say it is, or is not related to climate change. You can only say that it’s more or less likely to occur because of it.


The height of the the atmosphere's halfway point is rising. Click to read Stu Ostro's blog post on thisps



Stu Ostro at the Weather Channel may very well have spotted it, and now quantified it. I should emphasise that this is preliminary and new research, but he presents a powerful argument and backs it up with data.

Forecasters like myself are used to seeing unusual weather patterns, but the last few years, have seemed different. A feeling is not science though. You need data.

I thought of reprinting Stu’s post here (Joe Romm at Climate Progress did just that), but I am going to link to it. Just mouse on the images here to read the post he wrote. You will need to understand a meteorological term called thickness, and what a 500 millibar height is, but Stu does a great job of explaining it.

The long and short of it, is this: The weather we have now, IS different. It’s being affected by the greenhouse gases we are pumping into the atmosphere. Climate change is not some future worry. It’s definitely arrived.

It is not just going to manifest itself in warmer temperatures all over the globe. It will cause some places to warm a little and some places (Like the Arctic) to warm a lot. It will cause some places to get much drier and some places to get much wetter.

It will also cause more Big Weather Events. The kind that make news worldwide.  These usually happen when there is a traffic jam in the atmosphere and that is just what Stu noticed.

and this is only the beginning. It will get much worse…