Questions tagged [climate]

Average weather conditions for a particular area measured over multiple years or decades. For questions on climate change use the [climate-change] tag.

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What started the US Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and could it happen again?

Most of us know about the Dust Bowl: the huge storms of dirt and dust that swept across America in the 1930's. But what I'm wondering is... What actually triggered the start of the Dust Bowl? Is it ...
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33 votes
2 answers
1k views

How much of the current global warming is due to human influence?

Approximately what proportion of the global warming seen over the the last century is attributed to anthropogenic sources?
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29 votes
2 answers
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Why is Europe warmer than North America at similar latitudes?

Traditionally it has thought to be the Gulf Stream. But other researchers, like Richard Seager and Tapio Schneider, propose different arguments as to why. How much of a role does the Gulf Stream ...
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28 votes
2 answers
3k views

What sort of climate zones would be present if Earth was tilted like Uranus?

The three main climate zones on Earth are tropics, temperate and polar. Due to Earth's axial tilt, the three zones experience different seasonal patterns: The tropics experience 2 or 4 wet/dry ...
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27 votes
2 answers
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Would the Earth function the same spinning the other way?

Right, I saw a question about why the Earth spins counter clockwise, and it reminded me of something I would like to know the answer to. I watched a episode of Futurama. In this episode the Earth ...
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24 votes
4 answers
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Why is the temperature *still* rising?

2015 is the hottest year on record, and the average temperature continues to rise. I don't understand why this continues, as (over the past twenty years) so much work was put into reducing Global ...
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24 votes
4 answers
2k views

Does the strength of Earth's magnetic field influence its climate?

The strength and orientation of Earth's magnetic field varies with time. Does this variation of the magnetic field have any influence upon climate? For example, is there any correlation between ice ...
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24 votes
3 answers
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How good were climate models of the 1990s at predicting the global temperature trends of the 2000s/2010s?

Was there a significant bias between the ensemble of climate models and the long-term temperature trends? What about spatial patterns?
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23 votes
2 answers
937 views

Is climate chaotic?

The atmosphere is a highly dynamical system, and exhibits many chaotical features. An operational weather forecasting model tries to model an initial value problem, in fact one of the most famous ...
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23 votes
2 answers
877 views

How can the average coldest day of the year be before the winter solstice?

There are parts of the U.S. where, on average, the coldest day of the year comes before December 21st. [source] How can this be? Why would temperatures start rising again even while days are still ...
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22 votes
2 answers
5k views

What are the major differences between weather models and climate models?

Some weather models include GFS (Global Forecast System) and NAM (North American Mesoscale Model). Some climate models include CCSM (Community Climate System Model) and the NASA GISS (Goddard ...
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22 votes
3 answers
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Why is March colder than September in Northern Hemisphere?

Forgive my ignorance of the subject but I was always wondered about the exact reason of this phenomenon. Vernal equinox happens around March 20, whereas autumnal equinox happens around September 22, ...
21 votes
4 answers
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Where can I get archived hourly temperature data?

I am looking for historical hourly temperature data from many cities in the US what other data sources are there except wunderground? UPDATE: I will use the data to compare stations from the same ...
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20 votes
5 answers
720 views

Does vegetation contribute to long-term carbon sequestration?

We know that vegetation sequesters CO2 in its leaves. Much of this carbon sequestration is temporary, since when the plant dies, much of it is released back into the atmosphere as CO2. If it dies in a ...
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20 votes
2 answers
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Why do colder climates have more rugged coasts?

I've been playing Worldle for a while, and noticed that colder countries seem to have more rugged coasts. See Svalbard for example: And Patagonia: Whereas e.g. Bali is smoother: Does it have ...
20 votes
2 answers
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In the northern hemisphere summer, why are places in the north cooler than those in the south?

As the Earth's axis is inclined, during summer in the northern hemisphere places in the north are exposed to the Sun's rays for longer, so days are longer during summer (say in June - Aug). Yet, ...
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20 votes
1 answer
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What fraction of dry land is below sea level?

Someone just asked me if it would be practical to counter the rise of sea level by pumping water into storage on land. It struck me that if there is enough land below sea level, this would require ...
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19 votes
3 answers
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Simple Climate Models that Predict Climate Change

I have a physics/maths background, and to me the most convincing evidence of a scientific fact is often a very simple model that gives reasonable results. A simplified model, which you can fully ...
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19 votes
1 answer
317 views

Can large (and wet) storms really trigger large magnitude Earthquakes?

At the 2011 AGU Fall meeting, this poster claimed that the water erosion from Taiwan's wettest storms could prematurely trigger large magnitude earthquakes , $ M \ge 6.0 $. If this was true, this ...
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18 votes
2 answers
11k views

Where is the calmest place on Earth?

I have done some research online, and I've found out that Antarctica has the calmest winds (lowest maximum wind speed) recorded on Earth. However, it is uninhabitable for human life. Other very calm ...
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17 votes
3 answers
29k views

Why does the Inter tropical Convergence Zone shift?

I am currently learning at school about the climatic conditions (mainly winds, difference in pressure, Coriolis effect, etc.) that cause and affect the monsoons received by India. One of the factors ...
17 votes
2 answers
4k views

How accurate are climate proxies in giving us a clear picture of global average temperatures throughout Earth history?

Since reliable modern records of climate only began in the 1880s, proxies provide a means for scientists to determine climatic patterns before record-keeping began, though it appears that the the ...
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17 votes
0 answers
752 views

How will climate change affect the entropy budget of the atmosphere?

The entropy per unit mass of moist air can be defined as $$s=(1-q_t)(C_{pd} \ln{T}-R_d\ln{p_d})+q_tC_l\ln{T} + \frac{q_vL_v}{T}-q_vR_v\ln{\mathcal{H}}$$ And in statistical equilibrium, the entropy ...
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16 votes
5 answers
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Is the Earth's hot inner core necessary for life?

The inner core of the Earth has an enormous temperature of around 4300 degrees Celsius. Is this large inner core temperature an important factor contributing to the ideal temperature that is ...
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16 votes
1 answer
553 views

How will cloud feedback effects on the climate change as the result of global warming?

So global warming will increase the tropospheric temperatures, which, in turn, would make the clouds higher than they otherwise would be. And higher clouds (especially cirrus clouds) tend to trap in ...
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16 votes
2 answers
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How does the precession of the Earth's apses affect climate?

The gravitational influence of the gas giants (plus general-relativistic effects) are known to cause the apses of the Earth's orbit to precess. For an illustration of that process, see this image. Now,...
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16 votes
1 answer
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How much would the Greenland landmass isostatic rebound contribute to long term climate change?

In reading the question What would the geology and climate of a supposed landmass near the pole be like, assuming a thoroughly warmer planet?, it came to mind that another factor may cause a shift in ...
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16 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why does the El Niño Stop?

The reason for the initiation of the El Niño is unknown, but what is well known is how it progresses once initiated. The West Pacific warm pool begins to drift East, and the strength of the trade ...
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15 votes
2 answers
638 views

Will model resolution have an effect on model spin-up time?

In terms of uncoupled AGCM studies, I've seen people use periods within a decade (say, 5 years) as spin-up time, but I also see some people take tens of year as spin-up in some recent studies. So I'm ...
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15 votes
2 answers
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What factors affect the size of rain shadows?

Rain shadows are dry areas on the lee side of mountains. Due to humid air condensing and precipitating as they are lifted up and over the mountains, they lose moisture by the time they reach the lee ...
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14 votes
5 answers
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Why do greenhouse gases affect ocean temperature so much?

As I understand it, greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation from the sun. Much of that radiation would otherwise continue and be absorbed on the planet surface in the ocean or on land. If CO2 ...
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

How long does it take for the atmosphere to mix?

If I release a say, one litre of gas, at a particular point on the planet, how soon, on average, would it take to be distributed evenly (mixed) across the entire earth's atmosphere?
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14 votes
1 answer
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Odd structures in 66 year NCEP daily temperature reanalysis

I have done some simple analyses of historical surface temperature from the NOAA NCAR/NCEP reanalysis (downloaded from ftp://ftp.cdc.noaa.gov/Datasets/ncep.reanalysis.dailyavgs/surface/air.sig995.*.nc)...
14 votes
2 answers
228 views

Ice Coverage on the Laurentian Great Lakes

Currently (April 2014), the fraction of the Great Lakes covered by ice is more than ten times the median amount for this time of year, the median amount being indicated by the green line in the below ...
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14 votes
1 answer
278 views

How do climatologists define the "start" of a rainy season in a unimodal monsoonal climate?

For a number of gridcells, all between the 500mm and 800mm rainfall isohyets in sub-Saharan Africa, I've got dekadal rainfall (from FEWS). They are pretty spread out over the continent and there are ...
13 votes
7 answers
3k views

Why don't errors accumulate in climate models when the time horizon increases?

First of all, I want to add the disclaimer that I am not a climate sceptic or anything. I honestly want to understand this phenomenon. Hopefully, someone can also go into the details as I do have ...
13 votes
4 answers
1k views

How to tell if a single day of weather is an anomaly or due to climate change?

I am interested in understanding how to tell if a single day of 'abnormal' weather is due to climate change or not. From my understanding, you would compare this day's weather to historical weather. ...
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13 votes
3 answers
24k views

How has and how does the lithosphere affect climate change?

The climatic system can be divided into five main components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere, the cryosphere and the biosphere. All these physical systems operate at different time ...
13 votes
1 answer
607 views

Did global warming cause the extreme cold 2013-14 winter in North America?

There have been some claims made (example) that global warming had something to do with why the 2013-2014 winter was so cold in the Midwest area of America. If this is true then how did global ...
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13 votes
2 answers
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GIS Data on climate types

Where can I download GIS data delimiting global climate types? For example mediterannean climate, temperate climate, etc. Additionally, how similar are temperature profiles for various places in the ...
13 votes
1 answer
955 views

Do forests affect local rainfall and climate significantly?

I know that forests can change the local temperature, but what about rainfall?. Do forests affect rainfall in their region? I have read that if a forest is very big, it can cause minor changes to ...
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13 votes
1 answer
253 views

Why does Mars' experience an 'ice age' at high axis obliquity, when Earth experiences an ice age at low axis obliquity

This paper here goes into some detail about how Mars' experiences its own form of 'ice ages' on a quasi periodic basis driven by the wobbling of its axis. The main mechanism outlined is that the ...
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13 votes
2 answers
209 views

Are clouds significantly easier to simulate in weather models than climate models?

Cloud forcing is still one of the major uncertainties of radiative forcing in climate modeling because there are so many uncertainties in it (and parametrizations). But also because the timescale of ...
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13 votes
1 answer
716 views

Carbon Dioxide levels appear to be linked to the Milankovitch cycles according to Ice Core data but what is the mechanism?

As in ice core data shows that $CO_2 $ levels have fluctuated on levels correlating to the temperature and ice levels, but I couldn't think of a mechanism for what might be the link between the ...
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13 votes
3 answers
457 views

Are ice-ages dependent on an un-equal distribution of land-masses?

Having read this answer about the precession of the equinoxes and how it affects Earth's climate, my understanding was that only because of the differing affect of continental and maritime insolation ...
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13 votes
2 answers
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When will glaciation resume? Has global warming delayed return to global cooling?

As far as I understand, we are currently living in the Holocene, an interglacial period of the Quaternary glaciation, i.e. the current ice age that has so far lasted 2.6 million years. The Holocene ...
13 votes
1 answer
513 views

Climate on an Earth without an Axial Tilt

The Premise The Earth rotates on its own axis, which is tilted by about 23 degrees. I am imagining a situation where such an axial tilt does not exist. From general reading, it appears the largest ...
13 votes
0 answers
102 views

How are scatterometer observations standardised before being fed into reanalysis models?

This very basic question occurred to me during a talk on reanalysis data sets. Often we know the observations produced by a particular instrument, say rain radar, are biased from one year to the next ...
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12 votes
3 answers
7k views

How were we able to measure carbon dioxide levels in earlier climates?

It is said that carbon dioxide levels were much higher during the Cretaceous and Eocene periods: which proxies are used to determine paleo-pCO2?
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12 votes
3 answers
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What was the highest temperature ever recorded on the surface of Earth?

The article entitled "54 Celsius degrees in Iran, the highest temperature ever recorded?" says 56,6 Celsius may be the highest temperature ever recorded, in Death Valley, California, and it also ...
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