Kevin Trenberth and Jennifer Francis on Climate, Ice, and Weather Whiplash
June 19, 2013
Latest piece for the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media.
Last month I covered the emerging science linking arctic ice loss to changes in the jetstream, and the new normal “Weather Whiplash” we are seeing in the Northern Hemisphere the last several years.
Although nearly all climate scientists are in agreement on the general outlines of climate change and greenhouse gas effects, there are still, and will continue to be, areas of the science that are not yet “pound on the table we’re done” as Richard Alley likes to say. Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers has been making a persuasive case for the last year that polar amplification, and the loss of arctic ice and snow cover, are starting to have dramatic effects on global weather through the jet stream. See that video below if you have not already.
Not everyone is in complete agreement. Dr. Kevin Trenberth is a highly respected senior researcher at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. He reasons that because heat flows are so much greater in the tropics, that we should continue to look there for answers to the puzzle. I talked to both experts last month, and boiled down the discussion here.
I’ll be posting the complete interviews at a later time for serious wonks, but maybe not till I get back from Greenland.
See the first “Whiplash” video below.