“Recently identified (climate change) phenomena such as atmospheric rivers demand our full attention,” stated Bob Sandford – EPCOR Chair for Water & Climate Security, United Nations University Institute – in his call to action at FLOWnGROW workshop (Nov 2016)
Note to Reader:
In November 2016, the Partnership for Water Sustainability, Irrigation Industry Association and Okanagan Basin Water Board joined forces to convene the FLOWnGROW Workshop.
The second was Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair for Water & Climate Security, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment & Health. Bob Sandford introduced some of the latest developments related to climate change understanding. Watch his presentation below on YouTube.
A Newly Identified Phenomenon: Atmospheric Rivers
“We have known for more than a century that for every degree Celsius of warming we can expect the atmosphere to carry 7% more water vapour,” stated Bob Sandford.
“If you increase the temperature of the atmosphere by 2˚C the atmosphere can carry as much as 14% more water vapour.”
“If you raise the temperature of the atmosphere by 4˚C it will carry 28% more water vapour. That changes everything.”
The Clausius-Clapeyron Relation
“The Clausius-Clapyron relation is proving to be a critical driver in climate disruption.”
“Storms are now occurring that feature higher relative humidity than ever experienced before. This in combination with rising sea surface temperatures allows for extreme cloud bursts and storms with greater power that last longer and carry more punch.”
“And that is why recently identified phenomena such as atmospheric rivers demand our full attention.”
“Atmospheric rivers – like the winds of the jet stream – derive their energy from temperature differences between the poles and the tropics.”
“Their intensity also derives from the Clausius-Clapeyron Relation in that the warmer the air the more water atmospheric rivers can carry.”
“The risk here is that until we stabilize the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere sustainability and adaptive resilience will forever remain a moving target.”
The Jet Stream
“What we seem to be seeing in Canada is that the loss of Arctic sea ice and the rapid reduction of the extent and duration of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere are affecting the behaviour of the jet stream.”
“The less ice there is in the Arctic the slower and wavier the jet stream becomes and the more erratically it behaves.”
“There is a growing realization of the extent to which Arctic sea ice acts as a thermostat controlling climate right down to the mid-latitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere.”