Saturday, September 03, 2016

'Tug of War' Keeps Scientists Working on Storm Tracks

This NASA GOES satellite image shows a storm sweeping across the center of the United States on Oct. 26 and 27, 2010. (Credit: NASA GOES Project Science Office) Click to Enlarge.
Storm tracks--regions where storms travel from west to east across oceans and continents driven by the prevailing jet stream--determine weather and climate in middle-latitude places like Chicago and New York.

"Changes in the position of storm tracks in response to anthropogenic climate change depend on how the equator-to-pole temperature gradient will change, and among the various factors affecting this gradient, cloud changes stand out as one of the important pieces of the puzzle," said Tiffany S. Shaw, assistant professor in geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago.  She is the lead author of Storm track processes and the opposing influences of climate change, a review of the latest research and current knowledge that was published Aug. 29, 2016, in Nature Geoscience.
The most important message of this paper is that scientists are currently unable to satisfactorily project the response of storm tracks to anthropogenic climate change, said Edwin Gerber, associate professor of mathematics and atmosphere ocean science at New York University's Courant Institute, who was not involved in the Nature Geoscience review.
Ultimately, any major changes in the position of storm tracks will have a significant impact on society because storm tracks shape temperature, precipitation, and extreme weather. 

Read more at 'Tug of War' Keeps Scientists Working on Storm Tracks

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