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The New Norms of Extreme Weather

Weather Conditions & Terminology | Weather forecasting | Weather Technology |

The New Norms of Extreme Weather

Over the past half-century, our planet has witnessed a noticeable increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. From hurricanes and tornadoes to heatwaves and floods, extreme weather has become a recurring feature of our changing atmosphere. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Sixth Assessment Report released in 2021, our changing atmosphere has increased the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The IPCC also defines extreme weather as unexpected, unusual, severe, or unseasonal weather; weather at the extremes of the historical distribution—the range that has been seen in the past.

 

The Escalation of Extreme Weather

Intensified Storms

The changing atmosphere has fueled the intensification of storms, leading to a spike in the strength of hurricanes and typhoons. (C2ES) Warmer ocean temperatures provide the energy needed for these tropical storms to grow in intensity, resulting in higher wind speeds and increased precipitation. Regions such as the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans have witnessed a surge in the number of major hurricanes, causing catastrophic damage and posing a significant threat to coastal communities. Over the 39-year period from 1979-2017, the number of major hurricanes has increased while the number of smaller hurricanes has decreased. Based on modeling, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts an increase in Category 4 and 5 hurricanes, alongside increased hurricane wind speeds. (C2ES)

Changing Precipitation Patterns

Another hallmark of the changing atmosphere is the alteration of precipitation patterns worldwide. Certain regions have experienced an uptick in extreme rainfall events, leading to a higher risk of flooding. In the contiguous United States, annual precipitation has increased at a rate of .2 inches per decade since 1901, with extreme precipitation events outpacing this trend. The Midwest and Northeast have experienced the strongest increases in heavy precipitation events. (C2ES) In contrast, other areas have faced prolonged periods of drought, leading to water scarcity and an increased likelihood of wildfires. The unpredictability of precipitation patterns disrupts ecosystems, agriculture, and water management systems, posing a significant challenge to communities and policymakers.

Heatwaves and Wildfires

Heatwaves have become more frequent and severe over the past few decades, resulting in adverse health effects, increased energy demands, and heightened wildfire risks. Heatwaves can lead to heat-related illnesses and deaths, especially among vulnerable populations. The combination of extreme heat and prolonged drought conditions has fueled the incidence of wildfires across various parts of the world. For example, a recent study found Earth’s boreal forests are now burning at a rate unseen in at least 10,000 years. (WMO) These wildfires not only endanger human lives but also have far-reaching environmental and economic consequences.

 

Calculating and Adapting to the New Norms

Updated Climate Norms

To account for the changing climate, meteorological organizations and climate scientists have revised the concept of climate norms. Climate norms are typically calculated over a 30-year period to provide baseline data for comparison. In early May, climate experts at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) issued an updated collection based on the weather occurring from 1991 to 2020. The data set reflects a “new normal” that is warmer and wetter than the previous 30-year periods. (NOAA)

Resilience and Adaptation

The surge in extreme weather events has prompted a paradigm shift towards building resilience and adapting to the new norms. Communities, governments, and organizations are investing in infrastructure improvements, early warning systems, and disaster preparedness measures. Building codes and regulations are being updated to ensure structures can withstand extreme weather conditions, and urban planning is incorporating climate considerations to enhance resilience.

 

Advancing Weather Technology to Forecast the New Norms in Extreme Weather

As extreme weather events become more frequent and intense due to climate change, the importance of accurate and timely weather forecasting cannot be overstated. To meet the challenges posed by the new norms in extreme weather, advancements in weather technology are crucial.

Improved Radar Coverage

Radar systems play a vital role in detecting and tracking weather phenomena such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, and precipitation patterns. Enhancing radar coverage is essential for providing more precise and localized forecasts. By strategically deploying radars in areas with limited coverage, meteorologists can obtain a more comprehensive understanding of storm development and evolution. This allows for more accurate tracking of extreme weather events and enables timely warnings, giving communities valuable time to prepare and take necessary precautions.

Climavision is addressing improved weather radar coverage in the US head on. We’re deploying our own network of high-resolution radars to close significant low level radar data voids and drastically improve forecast speed and accuracy. Over the next 4 years, Climavision is rolling out over 200 radars across the continental United States. So far, we have a dozen radars installed. Three of the radars are located in Wagram, Charlotte and High Point in North Carolina – closing one of the most prominent gaps in the country. Over 41% of North Carolina’s Population lived in a radar coverage void before we installed the Climavision radars for that area.

Expanded Observational Datasets

To improve weather forecasting, it is crucial to expand and diversify observational datasets. Traditional radiosondes are valuable sources of data, but they are limited in their spatial coverage. Increasing their number, especially in remote or underserved regions, can fill critical data gaps and provide a more comprehensive view of weather patterns. Additionally, the integration of remote sensing technologies, have the opportunity to provide valuable insights into atmospheric conditions, moisture content, and other essential variables for accurate weather prediction.

At Climavision, we are increasing our access to unique observational data from multiple sources as well as  our high-resolution radar network. These datasets come from sources such as GPS-RO and other novel datasets , giving more insight into what is happening even in remote areas in real time. The more data there is to input into weather models, the more accurate the model outputs will be.

Cutting-Edge Numerical Weather Prediction Models

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are powerful tools used to simulate and predict future weather conditions. Advancements in computing power and modeling techniques have led to the development of more sophisticated NWP models. These models assimilate observational data from various sources and apply complex algorithms to simulate the behavior of the atmosphere. Improving the resolution and parameterizations within these models can enhance their accuracy in predicting weather events. Additionally, incorporating ensemble forecasting techniques can provide probabilistic forecasts, giving users a range of possible outcomes and associated uncertainties.

Our GRO model at Climavision, is a new and advanced NWP developed by weather experts with extensive experience in the meteorology field. Climavision developed GRO to specifically address the new norms presented by our changing atmosphere to better predict volatile weather by increasing weather data collection over observation sparse areas, such as oceans.

Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize weather forecasting by enabling faster data analysis, pattern recognition, and prediction refinement. Machine learning algorithms can identify complex relationships within large datasets, leading to improved prediction accuracy. AI-powered techniques, such as deep learning, can effectively analyze and interpret vast amounts of meteorological data, including satellite imagery, radar observations, and historical weather patterns. By integrating AI into weather forecasting systems, meteorologists can gain valuable insights and produce more accurate and timely forecasts, helping communities better prepare for extreme weather events.

Climavision’s revolutionary Tech Platform, Dalton AI, harnesses the power of AI and HPC to integrate and process our observational data, utilize machine learning and provide high resolution data to our customers in customized formats with exceptional speed and precision.

 

How To Take Advantage of Innovative Weather Technology:

As the world experiences the new norms in extreme weather, advancements in weather technology are crucial to enhance our ability to forecast and mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events. Better radar coverage, expanded observational datasets, cutting-edge numerical weather prediction models, and the integration of Artificial Intelligence offer tremendous potential for improving weather forecast accuracy. With Climavision’s investments and innovations in these areas, communities and businesses can strengthen their preparedness, save lives, and minimize risk caused by extreme weather events. If you like to learn more how this may benefit you, your business or community, contact us.

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