Extreme Weather and Climate

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

Getting Sustainability on the Agenda of Our Dysfunctional Federal Government

What is needed politically and in reality is a positive vision of a sustainable society. In the case of this country it will need to be built on the traditional values that have always attracted people to America: freedom, rewarding individual achievement, a love of the new and novel, innovation, and acceptance (even if reluctantly) of other people, cultures and lifestyles.

by |November 2, 2015
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
Wind speed probability map from NOAA for Hurricane Joaquin.

Joaquin? There’s No Perfect Forecast, So Stay Tuned

What will Hurricane Joaquin do? The science of predicting that is getting better, but still uncertain. The debate today is over whether there will be a U.S. landfall now in five or more days’ time or not; 30 years ago there would have been no point in even having that discussion.

by |September 30, 2015
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Tropical Rainfall from Hours to Millennia

Most of Earth’s rainfall occurs in a tropical zonal band that circles the Earth. Understanding how this band will responds to climate change requires us to combine time scales from hours to millennia.

by |September 28, 2015
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Bringing Together Storm Tracks and Clouds

The storm tracks define the weather and climate in mid-latitudes. A recent workshop in Switzerland highlighted the important role that clouds play for the response of the storm tracks to climate change.

by |September 8, 2015