Double Volcanic Eruptions Pushed Us to Record Temperature Records Last SummerFri, 15 Mar 2013 06:27:35 CDT
Evelyn Browning Garriss told cattle producers gathered in Ardmore on Thursday at the first ever Texoma Cattlemen's Conference "Welcome to the new normal." Garriss was speaking in climatological terms- saying the US can expect more heat waves and drier weather for not just the next year or two- but perhaps for the next few decades.
She considers herself a historical climatologist- and Farm Director Ron Hays talked with her after her presentation about a number of factors that are influencing the changing weather patterns of the last several years.
Garriss began by pointing out that the twenty year period from 1981 through 2000 was a very benign weather period- especially for the United States. Agriculture got used to relatively few growing challenges- espeically in the US Corn Belt- and that the weather of the last couple of years may be what "normal" looks like in the next several decades.
She bases her long term outlook on things like the water temperatures in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans as well as Volcanic activity. For example, she blames the record heat of last summer on a pair of large volcanic eruptions in the northern hemisphere that occurred in 2011. These volcanoes threw enough rock and ash into the air that it caused a huge amount of arctic air to get trapped up around the North Pole last winter- allowing the winter of 2011-12 to be very warm, and those warm conditions turned into the record heat of last summer. In addition to the volcanic effect- the Atlantic Ocean water has warmed up compared to the benign period of the 1980s and 1990s- and that added to the heating of the heartland.
Garriss says the last time that we had a large volcano explosion in both the North Atlantic and the North Pacific at about the same time was in 1783-1784- so we are getting pressure on the weather that has not been seen for centuries.
The good news is that she does not see a repeat of the summer of 2012 this year, as the cold air that was trapped a year ago has been released and the extremes temperatures are not likely to be duplicated.
Garriss talked with Hays about both the Atlantic Ocean water temps (the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation) as well as the Pacific Ocean water temps (the Pacific Decadal Oscilliation) and they influence our weather patterns.
She also talked about man's impact on the weather- she says that cities are easily ten to ten degrees hotter than out in the country that may surround it. She says man's role in global warming as one small, thin layer of the trends that nature now has in place. Garriss says that earth is now in a warming trend- but one that has been happening since the end of the "Little Ice Age" back in the 1800s.
You can listen to her conversation with Hays by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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