Friday, August 31, 2007

New NASA computer model predicts more severe storms

Via ScienceDaily I became aware of this NASA press release:

NASA Study Predicts More Severe Storms With Global Warming

NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth’s climate warms.

This is quite on par with what we already presume. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that it's the premise of Chris Mooney's newest book.

Previous climate model studies have shown that heavy rainstorms will be more common in a warmer climate, but few global models have attempted to simulate the strength of updrafts in these storms. The model developed at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies by researchers Tony Del Genio, Mao-Sung Yao, and Jeff Jonas is the first to successfully simulate the observed difference in strength between land and ocean storms and is the first to estimate how the strength will change in a warming climate, including “severe thunderstorms” that also occur with significant wind shear and produce damaging winds at the ground. This information can be derived from the temperatures and humidities predicted by a climate computer model, according to the new study published on August 17 in the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters. It predicts that in a warmer climate, stronger and more severe storms can be expected, but with fewer storms overall.

Interesting. I knew that it was presumed that there would be more strong storms, and that the strength of the strongest ones would be worse, but I didn't know that tehre would be an overall decline in the number of storms.

As the NASA story tells, the models has been applied to know conditions, and was correct, so it would seem that we should take its predictions seriously. Given that those predicitions are quite uncomfortable, it again shows us the bad consequences of global warming.

Go read the rest of the story

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