Global Warming: Super Storms and Extreme Weather

Super storms are unusually powerful storms that cover larger areas than normal weather disturbances. They do not always have the high-speed winds found in hurricanes, but their size and the storm surges they bring make them exceptionally devastating. Global warming is thought to be at least partially at fault for a number of super storms that have occurred in recent years, such as 2012’s Hurricane Sandy and 2008’s North American storm complex. This is because global warming heats up the oceans, and this warmer water is a primary ingredient for a powerful storm. Higher temperatures also encourage more extreme weather events such as tornadoes. Glaciers melting under higher atmospheric temperatures will also result in less weight bearing down on the Earth’s crust. This could enable the crust to move more often, resulting in increased earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic activity. These increased undersea landslides and earthquakes can also result in tsunamis. The most enduring problem associated with global warming, however, is the rise in the world’s sea level. This threatens to permanently submerge the coastlines of entire nations, forcing the displacement of millions or even billions of people. The problem of rising sea levels could result in the economic turmoil, destruction of trillions of dollars of property, as well as political unrest, wars, and an enormous loss of life, especially in poorer nations.

  • Warmer Oceans Could Produce More Powerful Storms: Simulations show a strong relationship between a warmer climate and more powerful super storms, according to this article by the University of Maryland.
  • Study: Climate Change to Worsen Hurricane Storm Surge: Go here to read a USA Today news story that suggests that storms like Hurricane Katrina could become the new normal as a result of human-induced climate change.
  • Expect More Big Storms to Come, Experts Warn: Hurricane Sandy is the subject of this speculative article about global warming. While Hurricane Sandy’s role as a harbinger of worse things to come is disputed, it is agreed that rising sea levels are an inevitable consequence of climate change.
  • Hurricanes and Climate Change: Is There a Connection? In this University Corporation for Atmospheric Research article, scientists who specialize in studying climate and weather patterns debate the impact of global warming on the formation of super storms.
  • Global Climate Change Is a Threat to U.S. National Security: Click on this PDF link to see a diagram explaining the way global warming can threaten American national security.
  • POV: Is Philippines Typhoon the New Normal? The debate over climate change focuses on the increase in super storms in this Boston University Today article. In addition, it talks about communities facing other global warming-related problems, such as needing to consider abandoning land to rising water levels.
  • In a Warming World, Storms May Be Fewer But Stronger: This long and in-depth NASA article explains the science behind the debate over whether global warming may be creating stronger storms. It contains a wealth of pictures, links, and diagrams as well as charts and scientific analysis.
  • Future Climate Change: Visit this page for a presentation about the potential impacts that climate change can have upon the human society and the world. Droughts, rising sea levels, rising ocean acidity, the bleaching of coral, disruption of food supplies, and the increased threat of disease are some of the problems this page discusses.
  • How Is Sea Level Rise Related to Climate Change? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration briefly explains the way in which climate change results in rising sea levels on this page.
  • Sea Level Rise: The rise in the world’s sea levels since 1800 and the projected water levels as of 2100 are the subject of this article by the United States Global Change Research Program. It also discusses the number of Americans living within areas that might become flooded within the next century.
  • Rising Sea Level: The Washington State Department of Ecology offers an in-depth explanation of what problems can come from global warming and the warming and expansion of the world’s oceans. Coastal flooding, land erosion, landslides, destruction of wetlands, and contamination of freshwater wells are covered here.
  • Tornadoes and Global Warming: Is There a Connection? National Geographic features an article in which scientists suggest that global warming creates conditions both favorable and unfavorable for increased tornado activity.
  • Are the Effects of Global Warming Really That Bad? The National Resources Defense Council explains the problems that human society could face with a global temperature increase of eight degrees. The relation between global warming and more frequent super storms, the increased threat of heat stroke deaths, air pollution, animal species extinctions, rising ocean acid levels, and higher sea levels are explained in detail.
  • Global Warming May Bring Tsunami and Quakes: Scientists: Visit this link to read about how climate change can also have an effect upon the Earth’s crust, potentially triggering earthquakes, massive landslides, volcanic activity, the large-scale release of underground methane deposits, and even tsunamis.
  • Could a Changing Climate Set Off Volcanoes and Quakes? A British geologist named Bill McGuire explains how global warming can result in more earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in this article. There is also a podcast version of the article available, along with a audio file that is available for download.
  • Climate Change Is Moving Mountains, Research Says: Visit the University of Cincinnati’s news website to read about research that shows that global warming-related erosion can affect seismic activity in some mountain ranges. In addition, it asserts that glaciers can inhibit tectonic plate movement, which means that when glaciers in these areas melt, earthquakes can result.
  • Drastic Antarctic Melt Could Double Global Sea-Level Rise: This article by the BBC explains how previous estimates for global sea level rise may be wrong because of the additional water that could come from Antarctica’s melting glaciers.
  • Study: Global Sea Levels Have Risen Six Meters or More With Just Slight Global Warming: Go here to read a study showing that a global temperature rise of only two degrees Celsius resulted in a sea level rise of six meters. It also compares modern levels of carbon dioxide to levels found three million years in the past.
  • Rising Sea Levels and Moving Shorelines: The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution talks about the effects of global warming on the millions of Americans who live near the country’s coastlines. These coastlines are at risk of erosion and submersion under rising global sea levels, which could mean mass forced migrations and trillions of dollars in property loss.
  • The Maldives and Rising Sea Levels: The problem of rising global sea levels is not just hypothetical, as this study shows. The Maldives is facing an immediate threat posed by global warming, as rising ocean levels threaten to submerge the country’s entire territory.