Climate Change Intensifies Winter Extremes

December 10, 2017

First four minutes of above video is relevant to current weather extremes across the US.
I’m in New Orleans and they were canceling flights due to snow friday December 8.

Still quite cold tonight.  Meanwhile watching fire footage from hot, dry, west.

Washington Post:

The explosive brush fires raging in Southern California and the frigid weather about to grip the eastern U.S. are connected. They are the consequences of an extreme jet pattern that makes the West hot and dry, and simultaneously the East cold. And new research reveals climate change and shrinking sea ice may help this pattern of wild contrasts develop more frequently.

The overarching weather pattern responsible for the contrasting extremes between the coasts is known as the North American Winter Dipole. It is fancy term to describe abnormally warm conditions in the West and cold conditions in the East. Under such a pattern, the jet stream, the super highway for storms that divides cold and warm air, surges north in the western half of the nation, and crashes south in the eastern half.

Such a pattern is developing over the United States right now. It is the same pattern that was responsible for California’s historic drought from 2013 to 2016. UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain coined the term “ridiculously resilient ridge” to describe the bulging jet stream along the West Coast. It blocked rain-bearing storms from penetrating inland and was associated with a pool of warm water known as the “blob” — which drew north a host of sea creatures seldom or previously never seen along parts of the Pacific Coast.


Daniel Swain makes an appearance in this vid about a previous set-up of this pattern, responsible for the intense California drought of recent years.

On the downhill side of this relentless ridge, where the jet stream plunged in the eastern U.S., the polar vortex was unleashed, particularly in the winters of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. Brutal blasts of frigid air punished cities from Minneapolis to New York.

This dipole pattern has shown a tendency to happen more frequently in recent decades as the climate has warmed. Swain, author of the popular California Weather Blog, wrote, “There has indeed been an increase in the number of days each winter characterized by simultaneously very warm temperatures across the American West and very cold temperatures across the East.”

Climate warming due to human influence may well be playing a role in the recent prevalence of this “warm west-cold east” pattern.

“Using climate model simulations, we further found that an increase in extreme temperature dipole days like those we’ve observed in recent years is considerably more likely in a climate with rising greenhouse gas concentrations than in a hypothetical climate without human influence,” Swain wrote, citing a study he contributed to last year.


One Response to “Climate Change Intensifies Winter Extremes”

  1. ubrew12 Says:

    That’s a real good video, esp the first 4′ as you recommended. In video’s, its fun to see the real scientists out there producing, compiling, and interpreting these changes. It’s comforting, a respite from the Orange Clown who likes daily press conferences to inoculate the masses to his repulsive behavior, and begin to think it ‘normal’. It’s useful to revisit the past, so I point any readers to your 1988 video (1′) of Syokuro Manabe talking about why he thinks the Arctic will warm much faster than the rest of the World:

    I was also interested to learn that Manabe’s 1967 paper, with Wetherald, was voted by climate scientists as the most influential paper in the field of global warming. They predicted that CO2-induced warming would not just warm the lower troposphere and surface, but would actually COOL the stratosphere (something the Sun would NOT do, if it was the cause of our current changes). Skeptics point to the satellite data as the ‘most reliable source’ of surface temperature (not true, but anyway…). Yet, if it is so reliable, why does this data show both WARMING of the lower troposphere, and COOLING of the stratosphere? Manabe couldn’t have been right 50 years ago, could he?

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