Drops of Weather. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
The possibility of facing a weakening Jet Stream due to a decrease in the Thermal contrast between the Subtropical and Polar atmospheric regions has created scenarios in which the variations in meteorological conditions for a particular location can come without a transition. One week is freezing cold and the next pretty warm. How can that happen?
The large north-south waves in the jet stream (Rossby waves) are occurring more frequently and may be increasing in amplitude. Larger waves can cause cool air to be pushed toward the equator when the waves dip to low latitudes, and warm air to be pushed toward the poles when the waves swing back. For areas on the ground below these waves, that translates into wild and unseasonable temperature extremes, sometimes called “weather whiplash.”
Such scenario can be seen nowadays when we look at the graphic representations created to simulate the prediction for the Western European meteorological conditions in the period between the 3th of March and the 14th of March 2015.
Here I have created a video with the sequence of images generated for this period so you can appreciate the forecast describing the behaviour of the phase/limit where both masses of air get in contact and how it looks like a fluid releasing “drops of weather”.
(Western Europe. Meteorological forecast for the period between the 3th of March and the 14th of March 2015. Subjected to changes due to updating processes.)
The implications raising from such type of atmospheric behaviour are yet to be fully understood. To begin with, the possibility of having sudden intrusions of masses of air inducing extreme changes in meteorological variables might affect the life cycle of the biota since the most of it, plants and animals, follows changes on Temp and Humidity suffering behavioural, hormonal and physiological alterations. Also it must be considered the rapid respond to those variables from species with a quick metabolism. Many of which, insects and fungi, might suffer blooming rates of growth coinciding with a vulnerable stage in the development of other species like crops and wild plants. This scenario opens questions which I believe are worthy to be included in a debate about “the possibility of its increasing frequency in the near future”, also discussed in previous posts (UPGRADED 11 March2015) Revisiting the theory of “Facing a decrease in the differential gradients of energy in atmospheric circulation” by Diego Fdez-Sevilla.)
Sudden changes in temperature might induce flowering too early or, getting affected by frostbites, depending on whether the intrusion carries warm or cold air.
I leave here one example from a paper which tackles such kind of scenarios for plants looking at the implications that raising uncertainties carry into the system of production for the food industry and agricultural practices.
Crop production is inherently sensitive to variability in climate. Temperature is a major determinant of the rate of plant development and, under climate change, warmer temperatures that shorten development stages of determinate crops will most probably reduce the yield of a given variety. Earlier crop flowering and maturity have been observed and documented in recent decades, and these are often associated with warmer (spring) temperatures. However, farm management practices have also changed and the attribution of observed changes in phenology to climate change per se is difficult. Increases in atmospheric [CO2] often advance the time of flowering by a few days, but measurements in FACE (free air CO2 enrichment) field-based experiments suggest that elevated [CO2] has little or no effect on the rate of development other than small advances in development associated with a warmer canopy temperature. The rate of development (inverse of the duration from sowing to flowering) is largely determined by responses to temperature and photoperiod, and the effects of temperature and of photoperiod at optimum and suboptimum temperatures can be quantified and predicted. However, responses to temperature, and more particularly photoperiod, at supraoptimal temperature are not well understood. Analysis of a comprehensive data set of time to tassel initiation in maize (Zea mays) with a wide range of photoperiods above and below the optimum suggests that photoperiod modulates the negative effects of temperature above the optimum. A simulation analysis of the effects of prescribed increases in temperature (0–6 °C in +1 °C steps) and temperature variability (0% and +50%) on days to tassel initiation showed that tassel initiation occurs later, and variability was increased, as the temperature exceeds the optimum in models both with and without photoperiod sensitivity. However, the inclusion of photoperiod sensitivity above the optimum temperature resulted in a higher apparent optimum temperature and less variability in the time of tassel initiation. Given the importance of changes in plant development for crop yield under climate change, the effects of photoperiod and temperature on development rates above the optimum temperature clearly merit further research, and some of the knowledge gaps are identified herein.
Animals might find affected their behavioural and physical features as these follows seasonal changes linked with temperature.
Here I want to leave another paper which tackles such kind of uncertainties for animals looking at the implications that such scenarios carry for two groups of animals, the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and birds. In both groups, extreme weather events appear to drive local population dynamics.
Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota. (2000, Camille Parmesan, Terry L. Root, and Michael R. Willig)
Climate is a driver of biotic systems. It affects individual fitness, population dynamics, distribution and abundance of species, and ecosystem structure and function. Regional variation in climatic regimes creates selective pressures for the evolution of locally adapted physiologies, morphological adaptations (e.g., color patterns, surface textures, body shapes and sizes), and behavioral adaptations (e.g., foraging strategies and breeding systems). In the absence of humans, broad-scale, long-term consequences of climatic warming on wild organisms are generally predictable. Evidence from Pleistocene glaciations indicates that most species responded ecologically by shifting their ranges poleward and upward in elevation, rather than evolutionary through local adaptation (e.g., morphological changes). But these broad patterns tell us little about the relative importance of gradual climatic trends as compared to extreme weather events in shaping these processes. Here, evidence is brought forward that extreme weather events can be implicated as mechanistic drivers of broad ecological responses to climatic trends. They are, therefore, essential to include in predictive biological models, such as doubled CO2 scenarios.
The usage of resources might suffer unexpected demands which may trigger collapses in the demand as well as it would increase pressure into the infrastructures coping with the situation. Depending on the type of masses of air coming over the same location we may see sudden changes in the demand of Energy, water, …
There are also possible impacts over the human health since seasonal allergies have become an increasing problem in our societies, decreasing performance in our activities and demanding health care and resources.
Biological productivity and Atmospheric circulation
As I have addressed in this blog in previous posts, there is a synergistic relationship between biological productivity and atmospheric circulation. The alteration of one of the components may induce a feedback response into the other.
(This post is part of a more complex piece of independent research. I believe that the hypothesis that I have presented in previous posts in this blog (here and here) could help to understand present and possible future scenarios in atmospheric circulation. However, this is an assessment based on observation which needs to be validated throughout open discussion and data gathering. So please feel free to incorporate your thoughts and comments in a constructive manner.
I would like to not only be the one proposing this theory but also be involved in this line of research. Since I am in a transition period looking for a position in research, I publicly ask for institutional and economic support to find the means to contribute evaluating the accuracy of this theory.
(If you feel like sharing this post I would appreciate to have a reference about the place or platform, by private or public message, in order for me to have the opportunity to join the debate and be aware of the repercussion which might generate d.fdezsevilla(at)gmail.com)
For anybody interested in the posts related with this discussion here I leave you those more relevant in chronological order (there are comments bellow some of them. Please check them out):
- New theory proposal to assess possible changes in Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
Posted on October 21, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-k3
- Why there is no need for the Polar Vortex to break in order to have a wobbling Jet Stream and polar weather? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
Posted on November 14, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-mt
- Gathering data to make visible the invisible (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
Posted on December 22, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-pN
- State of the Polar Vortex. Broken? From 29 Nov 2014 to 5th Jan 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla). Posted on November 29, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-o7
- Probability in the atmospheric circulation dictating the Weather (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
Posted on January 15, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-rm
- Meteorological Outlook Feb 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on February 7, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-sU
- (UPGRADED) Revisiting the theory of “Facing a decrease in the differential gradients of energy in atmospheric circulation” by Diego Fdez-Sevilla.
Posted on February 10, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-to