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Real Science or Reel Science?. Presented by: Lis Cohen Meteorology Graduate Student National Science Foundation WEST Fellow University of Utah. Outline. Can New York City go from hot to freezing in a few hours? Does climate change happen that fast?

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Real Science or Reel Science?

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Real science or reel science

Real Science or Reel Science?

Presented by:

Lis Cohen

Meteorology Graduate Student

National Science Foundation WEST Fellow

University of Utah


Outline

Outline

  • Can New York City go from hot to freezing in a few hours? Does climate change happen that fast?

  • Is it true that the North Atlantic current could shut down?

  • Is it realistic that a giant wave could hit New York City because of a hurricane?

  • If air from the upper atmosphere is brought down to the surface in a hurricane, will it freeze us?

  • Can big storms create giant tornados in LA?


Can new york city go from hot to freezing in a few hours does climate change happen that fast

Can New York City go from hot to freezing in a few hours? Does climate change happen that fast?

  • Climate change does not happen that fast or dramatically!

    • Ocean temperature changes take a long time

      • Large heat capacity

      • Large ocean volume

    • Ocean currents could change over many years


Is it true that the north atlantic current could shut down

Is it true that the North Atlantic current could shut down?

The ocean surface transfers heat to the atmosphere!

Animation by Jack Cook (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute)


What process could change the ocean circulation

What process could change the ocean circulation?


Can giant hurricanes exist all around the world

Can giant hurricanes exist all around the world?

  • Clusters of thunderstorms cannot merge together to form a continent-scale blizzard with a calm eye over land.

  • Huge storms with calm eyes happen over the oceans not over land.

    • Hurricanes or Tropical Storms

      • Require that the core of the storm be over warm ocean water

Photo: earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/Arch...


If air from the upper atmosphere is brought down to the surface in a hurricane will it freeze us

If air from the upper atmosphere is brought down to the surface in a hurricane, will it freeze us?

  • Closer to the Earth’s surface, the air pressure is higher than higher up in the atmosphere. As we bring the air down to the Earth the air pressure increases. As we apply pressure to air, air warms instantaneously!

    Bring air which is -80º C from 15km (tropopause) down to the surface

    • Temperature change because of pressure changes

      15km*9.8º/km(for dry air)= +147ºC

    • Original temp + temp change = temp at surface

      -80ºC+147ºC=67ºC

    • Change to Fahrenheit

      67ºC*(9/5)+32=152.6ºF


Can ice sheets melt and build overnight

Can ice sheets melt and build overnight?

  • Ice Sheets and Glaciers

    • Immense mass prevents rapid melting of ice sheets.

      • Ex. Climate quickly changed at the end of last ice age

        • Decades and centuries later the ice sheets and deep ocean adjusted. (NSIDC)

    • The major ice sheets over North America at the peak of the last ice age took tens of thousands of years to build up. (NASA)

http://daily.greencine.com/archives/day-after-tomorrow.jpg


Is it realistic that a giant wave could hit new york city because of a hurricane

Is it realistic that a giant wave could hit New York City because of a hurricane?

http://www.movie-vault.com/images/news/rainyorkbig.jpg

http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2004/SHOWBIZ/Movies/05/27/

day.tomorrow/story.day.tomorrow.jpg


Tsunami vs storm surge

TSUNAMI

Arrives quickly as a large wave or movement of water onto the shore

Causes

Earthquakes

Submarine Landslide

Calving of glaciers

Tend to be localized events

Antarctic ice collapse would not likely reach the US.

STORM SURGE

Arrives as a rise in water in a period of a few hours.

Causes

Low pressure of a storm lifts up the surface of the ocean (only a few feet)

Winds pushing water onto the land

Wind speeds would need to be at least twice the speed of sound (1200 mph) to create a 300ft storm surge.

Tsunami vs. Storm Surge

  • Data from: Dr. Jeffrey M. Masters


Can big storms create giant tornados in la

Can big storms create giant tornados in LA?

  • Ingredients for a tornado:

  • Unstable Atmosphere

  • Moisture

  • Vertical wind sheer

  • Los Angeles

  • Stable atmosphere

  • Little moisture


What process could most likely change the climate

What process could most likely change the climate?

More moisture in the air

Warmer climate

More evaporation at the equator

Circulation slows down

and changes

More moisture can be held in the air

Water does not sink in the northern latitudes

Melting Glaciers

Ocean is not as salty and dense

More rain at higher latitudes

More freshwater in the ocean


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • Climate change can not happen as quickly as the movie portrays.

  • Scientists’ prediction models show a possible slow down and/or adjustment to the North Atlantic current, but not a shut down.

  • Tsunamis not hurricanes, create waves like in the movie.

  • If air from the upper atmosphere is brought down to the surface, we will have warm temperatures.

  • Giant tornados in Los Angeles are very unlikely.


Real science or reel science

Questions?


How fast can the atmosphere and ocean respond to each other

How fast can the atmosphere and ocean respond to each other?

  • El Nino-

    • Winds weaken and ocean responds

      • This change can happen on the time scale of weeks.

  • Atmosphere

    • Readjusts within days ex. Moving jet streams


How does ocean circulation affect local climates

How does ocean circulation affect local climates?

Answer: Heat release locations are warmer!

Warm surface current- Less Dense

Cold deep water current–More Dense

Salty water anywhere- More Dense

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), "Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis"


What directions do warm and cold water currents travel

What directions do warm and cold water currents travel?

Animation by Jack Cook (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute)


What is happening with ice shelves today

What is happening with ice shelves today?

  • Today shifting climate

    • Antarctic Peninsula the ice shelves are no longer stable. The northern most limit for ice shelves has moved south over the past two decades by about 100 miles. (NSIDC)

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0007PALRU.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg


Three glaciers retreating

Three Glaciers Retreating

  • Source: C.L. Andrews. 1912, 1938. Denver Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection . Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital Media; Marion T. Millett. 1958. Denver Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection . Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital Media.


How do we know about past climates

How do we know about past climates?

  • Photo by: Lonnie Thompson, Ohio State University

  • Ice sheets reveal annual layers

    • history of precipitation and air temperatures 100,000 years in the past.


Flash freezing

Flash Freezing

  • The superstorm sucks vast quantities of frigid upper atmospheric air down to the surface, flash freezing any living thing caught outside. However, any graduate of a high school physics course could tell you that the air would warm on its descent in response to the requirements of the Ideal Gas Law, and would never be able to flash freeze anything. One scientist in the movie does remember his high school physics and asks, "But wouldn't the air warm as it descends?" But the senior scientist replies, "No, it's moving too fast!" Sorry, guy, but the Ideal Gas Law applies no matter how fast the air is moving. If you were on my thesis committee, I'd kick you off.

  • by Dr. Jeffrey M. MastersChief Meteorologist, The Weather Underground, Inc.


Storms flowing opposite directions

Storms flowing opposite directions

  • The superstorm is shown in many scenes rotating clockwise, and in other scenes counter-clockwise. Oops, all large-scale storm systems in the Northern Hemisphere must rotate counter-clockwise, thanks to one of the laws of physics on a rotating planet called the Coriolis force.

    • by Dr. Jeffrey M. MastersChief Meteorologist, The Weather Underground, Inc.


In a warmer earth scenario

In a warmer earth scenario

  • Ocean level will rise because as liquid water is heated it expands.

  • The ice caps melt and add water to the system.


Real science or reel science

  • http://www.whoi.edu/institutes/occi/images/occi_abrclimate_jk_lev_en.gif


Temperature and ice accumulation vs time

Temperature and Ice Accumulation vs. Time


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