Pro climate change scientists agree that global warming will have a significant negative impact on the earth and its inhabitants. If temperatures continue to rise, they could affect weather patterns in ways that decrease habitat for animal life and increase severe weather events.
According to a report released by the World Meteorological Organization
, "Fourteen of the fifteen hottest years have all been this century. We expect global warming to continue, given that rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the increasing heat content of the oceans are committing us to a warmer future."
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Here are six ways global warming could affect weather patterns:
"Warmer water in the oceans pumps more energy into tropical storms, making them stronger and potentially more destructive. Even with storms of the same intensity, future hurricanes will cause more damage as higher sea levels exacerbate storm surges, flooding, and erosion," reports the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"Global warming is bringing more frequent and severe heat waves, and the result will be serious for vulnerable populations." Dr. Amanda Staudt, National Wildlife Federation climate scientist.
Unless more is done to address climate change, drought can be expected. "… global warming has very likely increased the probability of the large-scale atmospheric patterns that have played a role in the current, historic California drought — a strong, persistent ridge of high pressure over the western U.S. has essentially blocked the region from being impacted by storms coming off the Pacific," reports The Washington Post.
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Global warming is responsible for the heavy rainfall that has led to major flooding events. This is because warmer air holds more moisture. "Extreme precipitation is likely when a storm passes through a warmer atmosphere holding more water. In warmer months, it takes the form of torrential rainstorms; in winter, blizzards are more likely," reports the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Drought conditions produced by continuing global warming have increased the length of fire seasons as well as an increased frequency of lightning. National Wildlife Federation reports,
"In the western United States a 1.8 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature is expected to lead to a 6 percent increase in lightning. This means that lightning in the region could increase by 12 to 30 percent by mid-century."
Increased historic cold snaps may just be the product of global warming. Time reports
that although it seems counterintuitive, warmer temperatures have a direct effect on the jet stream and can produce colder air. "The jet stream — the belt of fast-flowing, westerly winds that essentially serves as the boundary between cold northern air and warmer southern air — is driven by temperature difference between the northerly latitudes and the tropical ones. Some scientists theorize that as that temperature difference narrows, it may weaken the jet stream, which in turns makes it more likely that cold Arctic air will escape the polar vortex and flow southward."
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