atmospheric science

Attributing Extreme Weather to Causes—Including Climate Change

New research and more powerful computer models are advancing scientists’ ability to tease apart the forces that can worsen extreme weather. In a new report, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences that includes Columbia’s Adam Sobel assesses the young field of attribution studies.

Visible satellite image of Hurricane Patricia at 10:00 AM EDT on October 23.

Historic Hurricane Nears Landfall on Southwest Coast of Mexico

Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever observed in either the Atlantic or eastern Pacific, is expected to make landfall on the Southwest coast of Mexico this afternoon and evening as an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane.

by |October 23, 2015
A cluster of towering cumulus clouds off the coast of El Salvador. The photograph was taken on May 31, 2002, from the International Space Station. Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center, at [Photo ID ISS004-E-12656]

Spontaneous Clumping of Tropical Clouds

If you take a look at nearly any satellite image of clouds in the tropics, you’ll notice that the clouds tend to be organized into clusters. One specific type of cloud organization called “self-aggregation.” Self-aggregation is the tendency of tropical clouds to spontaneously clump together, solely due to interactions between the clouds and the surrounding environment.

by |July 23, 2015