Dr. Richard Rood on Atmospheric Cycles

March 8, 2014

Dr. Richard  Rood is a Veteran NASA Atmospheric Scientist, currently teaching at the University of Michigan’s College of Atmopheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences.

Dr. Rood also posts regularly on Dr. Jeff Master’s Weather Underground.

I sat down with Dr. Rood not long ago to talk about developments in climate science. This is a small, but significant piece of the conversation, in light of this week’s announcement of a heightened alert for a developing El Nino event in the Pacific.

12 Responses to “Dr. Richard Rood on Atmospheric Cycles”

  1. Peter, I have an internet friend who lives in NE Ohio (sort of cold, like Michigan), and he can’t wait for the El Nino to return. I keep telling him that the past is no longer much of a guide to the future, as far as these things are concerned.

    Dr. Rood’s last statement was in regard to seeing how the changes are going to affect things — was there more to this interview? Will you be posting more? Would love to see the whole thing.

  2. […] ClimateCrocks: Dr. Richard  Rood is a Veteran NASA Atmospheric Scientist, currently teaching at theUniversity of Michigan’s College of Atmopheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences. […]

  3. redskylite Says:

    Refreshing view on the way the climate will respond, it is easy to think that changes will be gradual and incremental – the bizarre recent events suggest a sharp shift in patterns, and it would be wrong to assume that by just cutting back on CO2 that patterns will revert back in response. Variations are generally understood, eg. volcanic, ocean thermodynamics, solar intensity and cycles etc, but the last few months are totally unexplainable. Global warming should be taught in all schools as part of science , at all levels, people need knowledge and skill to tackle this menace.

  4. greenman3610 Says:

    I don’t think the last few months are totally unexplainable, but they are certainly among a recent series of episodes that are pushing the boundaries of what is explainable without anthropogenic climate change, which taken together are causing a critical number of regular folks to conclude that we do indeed have a problem.

  5. Chris Ehly Says:

    does climate cause weather, or does weather cause climate?

    • This is in the realm of questions Mr. Gleick responded to about California drought. One must understand the right question to ask, and understand the answer in order for it to be meaningful. By definition climate is not weather. Weather cannot cause climate. Climate change can alter weather patterns.
      You can clarify an understanding of this here:

    • Chris Ehly said:

      “does climate cause weather, or does weather cause climate?”

      The problem is in how we use the word “cause”. The journalist’s question of whether or not a given weather event is “caused” by natural variability or climate change perverts the terms of the discussion.

      “Cause” is the wrong term. A hurricane in the Atlantic arises beCAUSE of warm ocean surface water, winds coming off Africa, etc. It’s “caused” by those things, in the sense that we usually use the word: I cause a baseball to sail over the fence when I give it a good smack with my bat.

      Climate does not relate to weather in the same way. It’s a context, it’s the context for weather. The moon, we could say, has a climate but no weather. “Home Run” has no meaning outside the context “Baseball”. The game of baseball does not “cause” a home run; lots of games are played with no home runs being hit. Climate is to weather as Baseball is to home run (along with singles, steals, outs, innings, bases, spitballs, etc…). To look at your other alternative, it’s easy to see that “home run” doesn’t cause Baseball, right?

      Natural variability is a function of climate, takes place within a presumed constant climate – so you could expect not only a change in what “natural variability” means when climate changes – as Dr. Rood is pointing out here – but also different weather patterns.

      I think that the best answer to your question is: neither. Climate allows for possible weather outcomes.

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