Posted by: Sara Shipley Hiles | August 27, 2009

Regional climate change effects examined

More and more news articles are reflecting a new wave of research about regional impacts of climate change. These articles make climate change seem like a real-time, local concern, instead of some distant threat.

One of the latest examples is a story from Reuters this week. It cites a study at the University of California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Bouts of extreme muggy heat lasting for days, once rare in California, are becoming more frequent and intense due to ocean patterns altered by climate change, scientists said in a study released on Tuesday.

The article talked about a “feedback loop” in ocean currents currents that produces higher temperatures and greater humidity. The combination of heat and humidity keeps temperatures elevated at night, instead of cooling down like they usually do.

According to the story:

The phenomenon highlights the importance of water vapor in climate
change — accounting for more than 80 percent of the atmosphere’s
heat-trapping “greenhouse” effect, compared to 12 percent for carbon
dioxide.
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