Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New paper: Global warming decreases the strongest wind events

A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters finds that warming of the tropical oceans results in a decrease in frequency of the strongest wind events. The paper states that these findings add further evidence to suggest the atmospheric circulation (winds) become less energetic with global warming. These results are consistent with several other papers showing that global warming reduces the strength or frequency of hurricanes. No doubt, Al Gore will do the right thing and remove the hurricane cover images from his series of books and sci-fi movie:
 Evidence for a weakening of tropical surface wind extremes in response to atmospheric warming

Geophysical Research Letters

Authors: Guillaume Gastineau and Brian J. Soden

Abstract: The changes of extreme winds and its links with precipitation are assessed over the past two decades using daily satellite observations and climate model simulations. Both observations and models indicate a decrease in the frequency of the strongest wind events and an increase in the frequency of light wind events in response to a warming of the tropical oceans. The heaviest precipitation events are found to be more frequent when the tropical oceans warm, but the surface winds associated with these extreme rainfall events weaken. These results add further evidence to suggest that the atmospheric circulation becomes less energetic as the climate warms. It further suggests that the enhancement of the extreme precipitation events is mainly a result of increasing atmospheric water vapor and occurs despite a weakening of the large-scale circulation, which acts to diminish the mass convergence toward the precipitating zones.

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