29 Apr '11, 2pm

Dot Earth: Killer Tornadoes, Horrible and Still Unknowable

As far as climate change and tornadoes go, there’s no clear expectation. The two most important large-scale variables severe thunderstorms are convective available potential energy (CAPE-a thermodynamic measure) and the vertical wind shear (magnitude of the difference between the horizontal winds near the surface and aloft, say, near 6 km above the ground.) A zeroth order expectation for the changes in the mean behavior of those two is that the favorable thermodynamics will increase as surface temperature increases and the favorable wind shear will decrease, as the equator-to-pole temperature gradient decreases. The models indicate that this will occur over the US, although there are sub-continental scale regional variations, and the signal in the thermodynamics is weak in many other regions of the globe. The models support the notion that the increase in thermodynamics wi...

Full article: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/29/killer-torna...

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ecorazzi.com 29 Apr '11, 6pm

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