Climate Change Ups Odds of Heat Waves, DroughtTweet
Media Source: National Public Radio
Program Name: Science Friday
Show Name: Climate Change Ups Odds of Heat Waves, Drought
Broadcast Year: 2012
Original Link: http://www.sciencefriday.com/segment/07/13/2012/climate-change-ups-odds-of-heat-waves-drought.html
Weather and climate are two very different things. Weather is highly unpredictable and can vary widely in a short period of time, while climate is the average of weather over a very long time period. Many people claim that recent heat waves and drought therefore cannot be established due to climate change. However, there has just been a study released from the University of Oregon and other partners that asserts that heat waves are 20 times more likely today than they were in the 1960’s during El Nino years. This was done by taking data from El Nino years over the previous 40 years and running them through computer simulations. The hardest hit states in the simulation were Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. These heat waves can cause drought even with measurable precipitation as the extreme heat causes high levels of evapotranspiration off the soil. Even worse is when this turns into a vicious cycle where the heat and the drought feed off of each other and conditions for any life except desert species becomes hard. This deadly one two punch can create widespread crop destruction and kill thousands of animals. Not only does this negatively affect humans but it can change the composition of flora and fauna for the area permanently.