Warming Rain

January 17, 2017

As we await the first of a series of heavy-wet weather starting maybe this afternoon, the driver of how our environment operates is getting hotter — global warming is supposed to be worldwide, right?
The actual heater depends on location…
Via the Guardian this morning:

This type of question is answered in a very recent study published by scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
The team, which includes Dr. Raymond Bradley and researcher Dr. Ambarish Karmalkar looked specifically at the Northeastern United States.
They found that this area will warm much more rapidly than the globe as a whole.
In fact, it will warm faster than any other United States region.
The authors expect the Northeast US will warm 50% faster than the planet as a whole.
They also find that the United States will reach a 2 degree Celsius warming 10–20 years before the globe as a whole.


So why does this matter?
Well first, it matters because some of the effects people will experience are directly tied to the temperature increase in their region.
For instance, we know that warmer air leads to more intense precipitation.
In fact, we are already observing increases in very heavy rainfall across the United States (especially in the Northeast).
Based on this new research, that trend will only get worse.
It means that winters in this region will get warmer and wetter — more winter precipitation will likely occur as rain rather than snow.
This affects the availability of water into the spring months.
It also means that summers will have more intense heat waves which will lead to more severe droughts.
However, there is another impact to this study.
We often hear that it is important to avoid increasing the Earth’s temperature by 2°C if we want to prevent the worst risks of climate change.
This 2-degree target is somewhat based on science and somewhat based on messaging and politics.
There’s nothing magic about this number.
It isn’t like everything will be fine so long as we stay below 2 degrees; similarly the world won’t end if we exceed 2 degrees.

And local/global (New Scientist): ‘It’s a new low point. The area of the world’s oceans covered by floating sea ice is the smallest recorded since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s. That means it is also probably the lowest it has been for thousands of years.
The latest observations from the US National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, show how the ice extent has fallen to a new low this year (bright red trace in the graph below).’

Meanwhile, here on California’s north coast we await the onslaught of a series of way-wet ‘atmospheric rivers‘ swirling toward us, and should start sometimes this afternoon, and gets serious tomorrow.. Heavy rain with gusty winds, maybe up to 45 mph along the shoreline — a second storm on Thursday, and the third supposedly rolling in by Sunday.

No relief until this time next week, maybe…

(Illustration above found here).

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