Recent storms such as Sandy and Nemo have even global warming doubtfuls second-guessing the current state of our climate. For years, scientists have warned that climate change patterns would lead to an increase in weather severity, but most people have brushed it off with a 'we'll deal with it when it happens' attitude. Well, it is happening, and a recent study supports it.
Scientists reported Monday that they have identified a physical mechanism associated to the extreme weather patterns that have formed in recent years that's linked to climate change, according to Global Post. Deadly heat waves, droughts, floods and storms are believed to be result of the shift in climate, and now we may have some insight as to why.
Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) linked the recent extreme weather patterns to a disturbance in air currents in the northern hemisphere.
"An important part of the global air motion in the mid-latitudes of the Earth normally takes the form of waves wandering around the planet, oscillating between the tropical and the Arctic regions," Vladimir Petoukhov said in a statement citing PIK's study.
"During several recent extreme weather events, these planetary waves almost freeze in their tracks for weeks. So instead of bringing in cool air after having brought warm air in before, the heat just stays," he said.
North America, for example, suffered from serious heat waves this past summer that caused massive brush fires and depleted already scarce water sources.
Scientists also explained that the rate of global warming varies in different parts of the globe. For example, recent temperature patterns in Antarctica and the North Pole have increased at a much faster rate than anywhere else. As the difference in temperature between the poles and the middle latitudes decreases, the airflow around the globe is affected.
This creates "an unnatural pattern of the mid-latitude air flow, so that for extended periods the slow synoptic waves get trapped," Petoukhov said.
Although the study has been regarded as a breakthrough in modern climate change research, the study was conducted over the course of 32 years, a period not long enough to establish concrete evidence. There are plenty of other factors that could contribute to the increase in weather extremes.
As the 'alleged' affects of global warming are becoming more important, studies like this are imperative in our efforts to learn more about our shifting climate and how to keep it stable, before it's beyond of our control.