increase by 25 percent in Northern California and as much as double in Southern California if greenhouse gasses continue to increase.
Tree ring data shows a significant increase in climate volatility in the last 60 years in Europ
These wild swings from one weather extreme to another are symptomatic of a phenomenon, variously known as “climate whiplash” or “weather whiplash,”
Experts say one cause of climate whiplash may be warming-related disruptions in the polar vortex, which in turn affects the jet stream. The vortex is a wall of wind that constantly circles the Arctic and prevents warm air from penetrating the cold regions, and cold air from moving south.
One scientist predicts that as temperature variability increases, it will affect less developed countries disproportionately. Climate researcher Sebastian Bathiany of Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands says that moisture in the soil plays a central role in moderating temperature extremes and that climate warming is drying out soils. “And when you have drier conditions,” Bathiany told NPR, “then the temperature fluctuations are not buffered as much anymore, so you have larger temperature variability.”
“These butterfly populations were driven to extinction because of variability” in precipitation, said John McLaughlin, an ecologist at Western Washington University who worked on the study. “We should be paying a lot more attention to these kinds of things.”
“The problem is that our current practices are interacting with changing weather and climate in unexpected ways, yielding more frequent and severe consequences,” said Adam Ward, a hydrologist at Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a co-author of the study.
“A late snowstorm in the spring or early snowstorm in the fall can have a lot of impacts — trees coming down, power lines coming down, and vegetation mortality,” Contosta said. “If these events become more frequent in the future, you could have lots of mortality, and that could, for example, offset how much carbon a forest takes up for the entire year.”
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