Extreme Weather and Climate

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What’s in the Forecast and How Do We Know?

The Earth Institute’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society makes probabilistic forecasts for rainfall and temperature for the next six months. How does it do this?

by |July 12, 2017
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Adam Sobel: Preparing for the Next Big Storm

Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call for a lot of people in New York City, including Adam Sobel, who’s spent more than two decades studying the physics of weather and climate.

by |June 12, 2017
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Richard Seager Sees Hand of Climate Change in Drought

California’s wet and snowy winter brings welcome relief from a years-long drought that has challenged the state’s water supply and agricultural system. But climate scientist Richard Seager of Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory offers words of caution: Remember what happened, because it will happen again.

by |May 29, 2017
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Michelle Ho: In a Land of Plenty, Big Water Problems

Michelle Ho grew up in Australia, the driest inhabited continent, with an appreciation for the value of having a clean glass of water to drink. Now, she conducts research for the Columbia Water Center on America’s water systems.

by |May 1, 2017
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Park Williams Discovers History and Science in a Tree Ring

Park Williams studies trees and climate, in particular the causes of drought and the effects of climate change on forests. In this latest in a series of Earth Institute videos, we spoke to him about what he does, what’s important about it, and how his interest in history and environmental science blended into a career.

by |March 24, 2017
Below the Mesocyclone: The stovepipe tornado stretches down below the structure of the supercell mesocyclone and tornado cyclone. This would go on to become the EF-5, 2.6-mile-wide monster.

Increasing Tornado Outbreaks: Is Climate Change Responsible?

In a paper published in the journal Science, researchers looked at increasing trends in the severity of tornado outbreaks, measured by the number of tornadoes per outbreak. They found that these trends are increasing fastest for the most extreme outbreaks.

by |December 1, 2016
Heat wave over Queens. Photo: Chris Goldberg

NYC’s Heat Waves: A Harbinger of Things to Come?

As global temperatures rise and heat records are broken, many wonder if New York City’s heat waves this summer were a result of climate change, and if we will experience more of them in the future.

by |September 27, 2016
Flooding this week near Port Vincent, Louisiana. Photo: NASA

As Louisiana Floods, Measuring the Climate Change Effect

The heavy rains and flooding in Louisiana have been devastating. Can we attribute the severity of it to climate change? How you measure that depends on the questions you ask.

by |August 17, 2016

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.

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Rapid-Fire Cyclones over the North Indian Ocean

With Chapala’s destructive landfall in Yemen just a couple of days in the past, a second tropical cyclone, Megh, has just formed in the Arabian Sea. This one is not forecast to become anywhere near as intense as Chapala did—though we know intensity forecasts can be wrong, as they were at early stages for both Chapala and Patricia.

by |November 5, 2015