With the approach of Hurricane Matthew, here are a few of the many scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute who can help journalists cover the story.
In studying climate and tropical cyclones, researchers find a weather phenomenon at play.
Using one of the most advanced atmospheric computer models available, scientists compared our expected future with a scenario in which ozone-depleting substances had never been regulated.
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.
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.
New York, New Orleans, Charlottetown and Everywhere Else
The disaster in New Orleans was almost uniquely awful in modern American history. But even if Katrina isn’t likely to happen everywhere, something can happen almost anywhere—including, we now know, New York. And further to the north and east.
“Drought affects the economy, water supply, lifestyle, and agricultural productivity. The downstream consequences on humans that are facing these threats, including loss of jobs and daily lifestyle challenges, become overwhelming.”
The climate over the tropical Pacific is in an extreme state at the moment. That explains some of the extreme anomalies affecting the United States right now. It also gives us a window through which we can glimpse how even more dramatic and long-term climates of the distant past might have worked.
Because we know little about hurricane behavior during periods when Earth was warmer or colder than at present, it’s challenging to construct models to predict future trends in hurricane activity as Earth’s climate changes. To remedy this problem, researchers have been working to reconstruct records of hurricane strikes in the past.