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Global climate change

Climate change having impacts on summertime storms

By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
2/20/2019, 9:24:53 AM

Feb. 20, 2019

Atmospheric energy that fuels summertime precipitation in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere is being shifted by rising global temperatures, especially those in the Arctic region, according to a new peer-reviewed study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The research team, led by Charles Gertler, found that more energy is getting shifted to help fuel more thunderstorms, which is leading to less energy being available for much larger, summertime extratropical storms, which are normally associated with more widespread rain and wind.

With weaker, extratropical storms, there is less air and air pollution that gets vented out, thus the study indicates that we may see an increase in poor air-quality days in urban areas (greater air stagnation).

The researchers found that energy available for large-scale extratropical storms has decreased by 6 percent since 1979. However, energy available for smaller, more local thunderstorms has increased by 13 percent.

Key excerpt from the MIT news report.

“Researchers are finding these trends in winds and rainfall that are probably related to climate change,” Gertler says. “But this is the first time anyone has robustly connected the average change in the atmosphere, to these sub-daily timescale events. So we’re presenting a unified framework that connects climate change to this changing weather that we’re seeing.”

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Global climate change