Barry Lynn on the possibility of extreme summer warming

A recent study has suggested that we can expect summers to get warmer in this century. The study suggests that, by the 2080s, summertime temperatures in cities such as Chicago and Atlanta could hover above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if the frequency of rainfall is below average.

Barry Lynn: When the sun comes in and heats the ground in our present day situation, a certain fraction of that energy then just goes back out to space. But in the future, when carbon dioxide concentrations are higher than they are today, a smaller fraction of that energy will escape to space.

Barry Lynn is an atmospheric scientist at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. According to Dr. Lynn, increasing amounts of greenhouse gases could lead to changes in atmospheric circulation that could reduce rainfall in already hot summers. And less rainfall leads to still higher temperatures on the ground.

Barry Lynn: But if you have a forecast for fewer rainy days, then the ground actually warms up and then that energy is not able to escape back to space because the carbon dioxide concentrations are larger than they are today, and you can end up with much hotter, and even extreme temperatures.

Our thanks today to “NASA”: explore, discover, understand.

Our thanks today to:
Dr. Israel-Tzvi (Barry) Lynn
Institute of Earth Sciences
Hebrew University
Jerusalem, Israel

September 2, 2007

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