Climate change is also affecting weather trends

3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 6:20:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in Continuous News
By: Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist
loading
COLUMBIA — In an earlier story we discussed the difference between weather and climate. While they’re not the same thing, a changing climate does change weather patterns.
One thing I have to note before we get into this is that we still cannot link anthropogenic climate change (man-made climate change) directly to each weather system. Just because we have a terrible hurricane does not mean it is due to climate change. When a tornado is ravaging the earth, it cannot be directly linked. However, what we are seeing is more extreme weather. That means we are seeing stronger hurricanes more often. When it rains, it pours…causing more flooding. When it’s dry, it turns into a severe drought more frequently. So, while each singular weather system cannot be linked directly, overall we are experiencing more extreme weather more frequently, with less of the in-between.
As you know by now, the world is warming at an unnaturally rapid pace. Climate has warmed by 2-degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. And eighteen of the 19 warmest years all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998. The year 2016 ranks as the warmest on record.
Each region of the world is changing differently. The good news is, some areas are still below average each year. Can you imagine a world where absolutely nowhere produced a below average annual temp? Talk about out-of-balance.
The central United States has been one of the cooler areas recently, including here in Missouri. There’s a reason for that…and it has to do with rain. When the ground and air are wet, the Sun's energy goes more into the moisture and evaporating that moisture than actually heating the air. So, when the air is drier (think desert-like), the temperature can reach into the 100s. However, when it is a wetter, more moist period, the temperature will stay lower, in the 90s, but the heat index and humidity will be higher, still resulting in dangerous conditions. This can also lead to warmer nights than if the air were dry.
In our warming world, it is important to note that for every 1°F of temperature increase, the atmosphere can hold 4% more moisture, which means there’s more available to fall as rain or snow. While some areas are dealing with an increased frequency in flooding, others have experienced prolonged extreme droughts. California’s 2015 drought cost billions of dollars.
When it comes to the tropics, category 4 and 5 hurricanes have all increased in frequency since the 1980s. In fact, the past 4 years have had five category 5 hurricanes to hit the United States: Matthew (2016), Irma (2017), Maria (2017), Michael (2018), Dorian (2019). Hurricanes have also been trending slower along coasts, stalling, and dumping record amounts of rainfall, and the other impacts that come with a hurricane standing still. New research on the track of hurricanes suggests hurricanes are increasingly stalling over coastal regions and dumping record rainfall because of this. Two recent examples are 2017’s Hurricane Harvey over Texas and Hurricane Florence over the east coast in 2018. I’ll note again this research does not link attribution directly to anthropogenic climate change. Regardless, it is a real trend that coastal regions will need to plan for because the as the climate continues to warm, this trend is expected to continue.
This isn’t only in the Atlantic, either. The past decade has recorded most of the strongest tropical cyclones worldwide.
You have probably noticed, our seasons are changing, too. The first freeze of the year is happening later and the last frost is happening sooner. That means the growing season is longer while winter is getting shorter. And yes, we will still continue to have winter! It is just shorter and warmer. It will still feature winter weather extremes, too. Remember, more moisture in the atmosphere also means more snow.
Overall, the Midwest is expected to deal mainly with extreme heat, drought, heavy downpours and flooding that will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. I’ll be digging into these on future Show Me Climate segments.

-----

This story is part of SHOW ME CLIMATE, an ongoing KOMU 8 series devoted to ethically explaining climate change without politics using fact-based data to deliver important information about our world and the Show-Me State.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
KANSAS CITY (KSHB) — You never know what you'll encounter as a police officer. One day, you may walk... More >>
38 minutes ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 12:47:00 PM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who is on a record-breaking pace during the first half of the season, and Wisconsin running... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 12:10:00 PM CDT October 15, 2019 in Sports
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana authorities say an improvised explosive device blew up in an elementary school playground in Helena.... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 11:07:00 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A Moberly man pleaded guilty to a federal charge of aggravated identity theft and will be sentenced in... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 10:44:41 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- When it comes to concussions in high school sports, there is good news and bad news, a new... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 6:29:48 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) — Turkey defied growing condemnation from its NATO allies to press ahead with its invasion of northern... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 5:45:00 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas City T-Bones are officially locked out of their stadium in Kansas City, Kansas.... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 4:48:00 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia is trying to slow drivers down on two streets in the downtown area. ... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 3:56:00 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
CAMDENTON — Camdenton City Clerk Renee Kingston didn't fall for a traffic violation scam. Kingston said she received two... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 7:50:00 PM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A father was shot with his four children in his car while driving in south... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 7:36:00 PM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education will discuss modifications to the public comment section of its meetings Monday night.... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 5:13:00 PM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The CEO of Dow Inc. has donated $6 million to a new University of Missouri health institute... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 12:49:00 PM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
CENTRALIA — The city of Centralia held its first monthly meeting on public safety Monday night since the firing of... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 11:51:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
KEYTESVILLE- A mid-Missouri father filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the man accused of causing his disabled daughter's death... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 11:21:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A local group wants to expand the Jefferson City National Cemetery by relocating East Miller Park across... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 10:25:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
ROCHEPORT - The Columbia/ Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services is opening community-based pop up flu clinics... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 10:20:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Moms Demand Action is partnering with Stop the Bleed Coalition to hold crisis first aid training on... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 3:40:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Maries County sheriff's deputies said a drunk driver was to blame in a fatal car crash from early... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 8:46:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 70°
2pm 67°
3pm 66°
4pm 64°
5pm 63°