Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oklahoma Climatological Survey statement on global warming

OCS expects the following climate change scenarios and the associated impacts to be realistic should the projected range of warming materialize for the remainder of the 21st century:

• The frequency of hot extremes and heat waves will increase.
• Cold extremes and cold air outbreaks will decrease.
• Atmospheric water content will increase.
• The jet stream and its associated storms will move poleward.

Implications for Oklahoma:

• The warm season becomes longer and arrives earlier.
• The cool season warms and shortens which leads to a longer frost-free period and growing season.
• Earlier maturation of winter wheat and orchard crops leave them more vulnerable to late freeze events.
• Increased year-round evaporation from the ground and transpiration from green vegetation.
• Drought frequency and severity increases, especially during summer.
• Drier and warmer conditions will increase the risk of wildfires.
• Rain-free periods will lengthen, but individual rainfall events will become more intense.
• More runoff and flash flooding will occur.
Nerdified link

The rest makes for an informative read. One of the graphics shows that while summers the last handful of years have been a bit milder than usual (as opposed to hot and dusty), winters have actually trended warmer than normal.

The fall/winter trend seems to be shaping up similarly this year out in the panhandle region, although it does appear that the streak of slightly cooler summers was snapped as of August. In the panhandle in particular, we've been unusually warmish and dusty since August. Of course the climatologists are reminding us that there will still be relatively warm years and relatively cool years, but that the longterm trends will be towards increased warmth, with all the baggage that comes with it.

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