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Research forecasts increased chances for stormy weather
Date:12/4/2007

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers who study severe weather and climate change joined forces to study the effects of global warming on the number of severe storms in the future and discovered a dramatic increase in potential storm conditions for some parts of the United States.

The Purdue University-led team used climate models to examine future weather conditions favorable to formation of severe thunderstorms - those that produce flooding, damaging winds, hail and sometimes spawn tornadoes.

"It seems that areas in the U.S. prone to severe thunderstorms now will likely have more of them in the future," said Robert Trapp, the Purdue associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences who led the research team. "We can't predict individual storms, but we can project the number of days with conditions conducive to storm formation."

The study found that by the end of this century the number of days that favor severe storms could more than double in locations such as Atlanta and New York. The study also found that the increase in storm conditions occurs during the typical storm seasons for these locations and not during dry seasons when such storms could be beneficial. The findings will be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Hopefully, the results of this work will help raise awareness of the changing weather and increase long-term preparations for severe weather, such as emergency response plans," Trapp said. "Areas close to the main sources of humidity, primarily the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, show the most significant increases in potential for storms."

Noah Diffenbaugh, who collaborated with Trapp on this study, said the research findings illustrate how a relatively small increase in temperature can have a dramatic effect on day-to-day weather.

"It is easy to look at global warming just in terms of the average increase in temperature, but the effec
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Contact: Elizabeth K. Gardner
ekgardner@purdue.edu
765-494-2081
Purdue University  
Source:Eurekalert

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