Changing Weather: An Effect of Climate Change
Worsened and more frequent hurricanes
Climate change has an effect on the quantity and velocity of hurricanes. Climate change and global warming cause the oceans to be warmer throughout the year. But why does this affect hurricanes? If we dig deeper into the science of hurricanes, we find that hurricanes form over warm water. Therefore, more hurricanes will form from the climate-change caused warmer water. This also leads scientists to predict that because the water will be extra warm, the hurricanes will be even worse. Furthermore, the sea level is rising from climate change, the floods during hurricanes will be worse and inflict even more hurricanes.
According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, greenhouse gases have caused an increase in hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean since 1970. It also projects that Atlantic and North Pacific hurricane rainfall will increase in the near future.
Worsened droughts and wildfires
More intensive droughts and wildfires are an effect of climate change due to the fact that as the Earth warms, moisture evaporates. With climate change, the droughts and wildfires are more intense and longer because global warming is causing an even drier atmosphere.
Climatologist Kevin Trenberg shows the heat difference, stating "the extra heat from the increase in heat-trapping gas is equivalent to running a small microwave oven at full power for about half an hour over every square foot of land under the drought.
Joseph Romm, one of America's top climate scientists and communicators states that "Global warming leads to more intense droughts, hotter weather, and earlier snowmelt (hence less water available for late summer and early autumn). That means that wildfires are a dangerous amplifying feedback, whereby global warming causes more wildfires, which release carbon dioxide, thereby accelerating global warming."
Worsened heat waves
"Global warming raises the average temperature of the Earth. This makes heat waves, which are extremes on top of the average, more intense and more frequent."
- Joseph Romm, climatologist and climate science communicator
Climate change has an effect on heatwaves. As Dr. Romm has stated, heat waves are becoming "more intense and more frequent." This means that heat waves will be worse than normal. The National Climate Assessment has recently concluded that the U.S. Southwest can expect less precipitation, hotter temperatures, and drier soils in the future. This means that by 2060, there could be as much as a 35 percent increase in water demand AND a 25 to 50 percent increased risk of droughts and wildfires. They also state that this increase is due to "human-caused climate change." The National Climate Assessment is not only clearly stating that climate change is causing less precipitation, hotter temperatures, more droughts, and more wildfires, but is also stating the devastating effects that this could have on humans and the planet.
Higher risk of deluge or severe precipitation
Deluges (floods) and heavy precipitation are, in fact, an effect of climate change. Now, this may seem weird because I have just stated that climate change can cause droughts and heatwaves. However, there are multiple parts of the world. Climate change affects some places differently than others. The UK Met Office reported in 2014, "Basic physics tells us that a warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture." This is significant because we know that global warming is creating a warmer atmosphere. So in places, there will be even more rain, and subsequently, flooding. The 2014 American National Climate Assessment states that "Warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air. Global analyses show that the amount of water vapor in the air has in fact increased due to human-caused warming. This extra moisture is available to storm systems, resulting in heavy rainfall. Climate change also alters characteristics of the atmosphere that affect weather patterns and storms." It also explains, "The heaviest rainfall events have become heavier and more frequent, and the amount of rain falling has also increased." Joseph Romm states that 70% more precipitation falls now than it did in 1958.
Average precipitation has increased by 4% since 1901 across the United States. Precipitation is increasing on average because as the temperatures rise, there is more evaporation, which leads to more moisture in the air. That moisture in the air has to come down as precipitation, therefore leading to increased precipitation. However, this increased evaporation will also dry some land. That means in areas where precipitation is already common, there will be increased precipitation because the excess precipitation will fall. In drier areas, it will be even drier because of the increased precipitation, leading to increased risks of droughts, as previously mentioned.