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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Exploring the Role of Climate Change in the Weather Week

Derechos is “primarily a summer phenomenon,” said Harold Brooks, a senior researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory. “If you make it look more summertime, you can expect them to increase.”

“The reason dereho hurts is because while their winds are often not strong enough to destroy buildings, they damage power lines and trees over a large area,” added Dr. Brooks. “Tornado paths can have violent destruction in the middle. In derecho it covers a much wider area. “

The ominous weather this week shocked even professional meteorologists. Zach Sharp, head of the Iowa Storm Pursuit Network, said he had never experienced such strange weather in December.

Most of Wednesday was unseasonably warm: “It felt like spring; there were people in shorts, ”he said,“ but as soon as the storm front approached, a gust of cold air instantly caused freezing temperatures and winds at 80 miles per hour. “It was scary chasing a tornado 10 days before Christmas,” Sharpe said. We rode in our cars, listened to Jingle Bells while the tornado sirens sounded. “

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However, scientists say this week’s storm was so unusual and had so many different forces behind it, including a strong jet stream moving through the central states, that it can be difficult to separate the impact of global warming from other factors like like La Niña. , an unstable climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean that can affect winter storms.

This storm was “as messy an event as possible,” Dr. Brooks said. “Is this a weird one-off event? Or maybe it won’t happen again for a long time? Will seasonality change dramatically? I don’t think we know. “

Victor Jensini, professor of meteorology at Northern Illinois University, noted that all extreme weather events now occur against a backdrop of an atmosphere that has been deeply shaped by people burning fossil fuels. “Suppose all extreme weather events are influenced by climate change,” he said.

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