Saturday, April 16, 2016
The Essence of Extreme Weather
I have said this before, but it bears repeating.
More heat into a system that has a great many ways to work convection with, but which radiates less each year to space, means that those internal mechanisms that transfer hot to cold, as well as cold to hot, have a great deal more energy with which to make those transfers with.
This means that greater amounts of water get evaporated and then condensed. Greater amounts of air flow from one place to another, which also, of course, affect pressure differentials. Greater amounts of seawater flow from one place to another. And all sorts of surface materials (rock, snow, dirt, buildings, vegetation, etc.) absorb, reflect, and/or re-radiate this back to the air or water. And especially with absorption or reflection, where, say, ice has to absorb more, and then has less to reflect back, seasonal cycle after cycle, do you get more absorption based heating, and with that more evaporation, as well as convectional flow in our oceans.
This is a big part of why storms of various kinds get not only bigger, but a combination of that and more oddly spread about, in time and space; which is also why so much can happen now out of the previous ordinary of what was "seasonal." Vast flows with the jet stream, and major ocean currents, face more changeable factors that can get things either pushed around faster, or even stuck temporarily in one place or another more often .
This, then, is why you get a kind of paradox of prediction. We can certainly know that more of "bigger" is coming, but where exactly, and how much bigger each time, not so much. And in this the one thing you can bet on is a great deal more uncertainty about where catastrophe will strike next; or even where it may not for a while. And in a sense, just that uncertainty alone will be an ever increasing stress factor to our social/economic system because there will be so much more difficulty in trying to plan and prepare for it, or to figure cost factors in various risk benefit scenarios. Which is no more than to say: "you think government budgeting, or commercial markets, are crazy volatile now? Just wait. New records will be made there as well as in how severe storms are.