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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kevin Trenberth: recent weather events partly related to higher SSTs

Kevin Trenberth:

 if one looks for the biggest events this past year I would say they include:

(1) The flooding in Pakistan (August) and related earlier flooding in China and India (July)

(2) The Russian drought, heat wave and wild fires (which is an event physically related to the Asian flooding via a monsoon circulation and teleconnections)

(3) The flooding events in the US, notably the nor-easters in February-March and the "Snowmageddon" event of record breaking snows in Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

(4) The intense heavy rains in Nashville in May (over 20 inches in 2 days)

(5) The wettest September ever in Australia

(6) The strong Atlantic hurricane season (19 named storms second after 2005 and tied with 1995 since 1944 when surveillance aircraft began monitoring, and 12 hurricanes).  Only one storm made landfall in the US, but 3 made landfall in Mexico and hurricane Karl caused extensive flooding in Mexico and Texas. Moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Karl became entrained in the circulation, bringing flooding rains to parts of southwest Wisconsin, southern Minnesota, and southeast South Dakota, and contributing to Minnesota's wettest September in the 1895-2010 record. 

And many other events.  See:

for material related to the first 2 above, and

In all these cases, the very high SSTs played a role, and human-induced warming is a part.

An up-to-date review:

Trenberth, K. E. (2010). Changes in precipitation with climate change. Climate Research, doi: 10.3354/cr00953, in press. [PDF]

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