At first glance, the Copenhagen conference seemed like an alternate universe—enormous, byzantine, and riddled with customs and folkways that weren’t at all obvious to someone who’s never been to such a meeting.
Even though reports continue to pour in about melting glaciers, sea ice loss, and temperatures across much of the globe remaining unusually warm, fewer and fewer Americans seem to believe the climate is warming.
Few other parts of the world are showing climatic trends as distinct and ominous as Australia’s—and these changes are broadly consistent with what climate models tell us the 21st century has in store for the continent.
The presence of El Niño boosts the odds of big Denver-area snowstorms, even though the region's winters as a whole aren’t substantially wetter during El Niño. It’s a good example of nuance in the relationship between El Niño and climate.
While most El Niños tend to inhibit Atlantic hurricanes, the Modoki variety, with its peak warming displaced further west from the Atlantic, appears to leave more room for a bumper crop in at least some years.
If you’re a gardener in New England, you might remember the wet, cool summer of 2009 for its tomatoes and potatoes, ravaged by the earliest and most widespread “late blight” on record. If you’re from south Texas, you were probably just trying to keep green things alive.
Along with unusually persistent rains, there was a different kind of watery surprise this summer for people on the U.S. Atlantic coast. From the barrier islands of the Southeast to the rocky shores of Maine, tides ran as high as 2 feet above predicted values.
By simulating 8,000 years of climate, a team led by scientists from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and NCAR has found a new explanation for the last major period of global warming, which occurred about 14,500 years ago.
NCAR researchers are studying whether the eruption of Indonesia’s Mt. Toba supervolcano about 70,000–75,000 years ago may have cooled Earth enough to initiate an ice age and potentially alter the course of human evolution.
Melting of the Greenland ice sheet may drive more water than previously thought toward the already threatened coastlines of New York, Boston, Halifax, and other cities in the northeastern United States and Canada.
One of the challenges for global climate modelers is accurately simulating cloud cover and its changes over time. This is vital for projecting future temperatures, rainfall, and other aspects of global and regional climate change.
NCAR scientists are working on a bigger, bolder version of WACCM (the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model), called WACCM-eXtension, or WACCM-X for short. The enhanced version extends the model to an altitude of about 310 miles.
A team of scientists has successfully flown from the Arctic to the Antarctic this month, the first step in a three-year project to make the most extensive airborne measurements of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to date.
While there has been much attention focused on the question of whether climate change influences hurricanes, scientists are also interested in whether the reverse holds true: do hurricanes significantly impact global climate?
Researchers are working toward predictions of climate change impacts in specific regions and even metropolitan areas. But are local and regional decision makers taking advantage of this science to begin to prepare for the impacts of global warming?
NCAR, working with federal agencies and universities as well as the insurance and energy industries, has launched an intensive study to examine how global warming will influence hurricanes in the next few decades.