Global warming to cause more severe thunderstorms, reports NASA
August 31, 2007
Tony Del Genio, Mao-Sung Yao, and Jeff Jonas at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies have developed the first model estimates how the strength of storms will change in a warming climate.
The model predicts that while stronger and more severe storms can be expected in a warmer climate, fewer storms will form overall. The model assumed a hypothetical future climate with double the current carbon dioxide level and a surface that is an average of 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the current climate.
Screenshot from an animation showing clouds over North America on August 2, 2000, as measured by GOES-11. Credit: NASA/NOAA.
"In the warmer climate simulation there is a small class of the most extreme storms with both strong updrafts and strong horizontal winds at higher levels that occur more often, and thus the model suggests that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common with warming."
The research was published August 17 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters