It’s 40 below…So much for your Global Warming!

Originally posted March 18, 2014 by  yours truly. I thought you might like another take on Global Warming

Laymen-term thoughts on Global Warming:

   First, I am not interested in the tired and worn out arguments that any warming is manmade or part of a natural cycle. What I do know without any doubt, it that the planet is in fact warming regardless of the cause. That being said, you must also understand that the planet is a very delicate and balanced system that responds immediately, and very well to imbalance.

   Consider a summertime thunderstorm. They usually occur in the afternoon and at the hottest time of the day. Why is that? When it is warm, the atmosphere can hold more water vapor. We feel that water vapor in the form of Humidity and I don’t need to remind anyone about Southern Humidity! In the heat of the day, small fluctuations in the temperature, clouds, a passing front… or anything else can cause this water vapor to rise high into the atmosphere. We see this happening in the afternoon with those puffy white cumulous clouds. Some of those clouds develop further into the cumulonimbus (thunderstorms). This warm air then rapidly cools and then condenses as it rises. This condensation is felt on the ground as rain and usually in copious amounts! What happens after a summer storm passes? The temperature falls and for a little while, we feel some relief from the heat and sometimes that relief can be quite chilly.

   Let’s put this on a global scale then. We’ve seen how a summertime thunderstorm responds to heat by cooling the air around it. The process is no different on a global scale. A larger storm such as a hurricane develops in the tropics and travels northward to the pole. All that tropical heat is physically removed from the tropics and transported north where it cools. The planet responds to warming by cooling. Let me say that again…the planet responds to warming by cooling. It desperately tries to put the system back into equilibrium and sometimes, the effort to do so can be quite extreme.

   This winter we have seen extremes. This is a response to very warm pools of ocean water in the north pacific and north Atlantic. They get so warm that they can alter the normal flow of air travelling above them. This is normal, but as we are seeing here, these pools are a little warmer than usual so the response to cool them is more extreme. There are about a dozen or so of these ocean currents globally and all have a direct impact on the planet’s weather. Known as oscillations, they are very important in observing how our planet responds to warming/cooling.

   On a warmer planet, expect wilder extremes than normal. If where you live is prone to hurricanes, they will be stronger and perhaps more frequent. If you live in a dry climate, expect more droughts. If your region experiences thunderstorms, expect them to be more severe.

   This is how a system out of balance responds to warming. Should the balance become too out of whack, the response to warming may get out of whack as well. We have seen this in paleoclimatology where extreme warm periods are followed by ice ages!

   I don’t feel we are in ice age territory by any means, but I just wanted to help make some sense out of this gross misunderstanding about global warming. I grumble when I read “it’s 40 below…so much for your global warming”. It’s 40 below because of global warming!

NC Weather Happens!

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