One of the great pleasures of autumn is its colorful aesthetic. The phenomenon in which normally green leaves turn shades of red, orange, yellow and eventually brown is officially known as “leaf phenology,” which some people eagerly anticipate every year. But like many ways in which climate change is radically altering our weather patterns – from scorching heat waves to sea level-induced flooding – autumn itself is changing.
“Climate change and global warming are in no way inconsistent with snow, and in fact, there may be more snow.”
According to a study published earlier this year in the journal PLOS One, the length of the season is increasing, meaning it takes longer for leaves to change color. And this isn’t the only way climate change is interfering with the season that so many of us love.
“Trees are holding on to their leaves longer,” explained Dr. Howard Diamond, senior climate scientist at NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory, when speaking to Salon. “I can see that in my own neighborhood, where I remember 20 years ago, the leaves fell much earlier than they do now. This is more anecdotal, but it is supported by the research we are seeing.”
Climate change isn’t just causing leaves to change later. We can also expect later frosts, according to Dr. Michael E. Mann, professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Mann told Salon that this “means that mosquitoes and disease-carrying pests like ticks persist into the fall, posing a greater health risk.”
Mann also highlighted that El Niño – the climate phenomenon in which the ocean surface warms in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and thus alters weather patterns – will set a new record for global temperatures every year the event occurs. to happen. This means more extreme heat in summers, worsening tropical storms and intensifying droughts.
As Dr. Flow across the US said: The storm’s path favored more southerly than normal and wetter as far as Florida, but drier and warmer in the northern tier states.
However, if there is any good news, we may be able to avoid this development. Citing a recent study published in Frontiers in Science, Mann pointed out that if humans limit their carbon dioxide emissions, they can still prevent the worst effects of climate change from affecting them during the fall months.
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These types of changes are built into our future, because the full effects of the greenhouse gases already emitted have not yet been felt.
“A new study published today provides further evidence that surface warming will likely stop after carbon emissions reach zero,” Mann told Salon, a point he repeated in his recent commentary for Live Science. However, while some of the most radical aspects of autumn-altering climate change may be reversed, others will be here to stay.
For example, as Trenberth noted, “one way to think about the effects of climate change is that summer gets longer and winter gets shorter. So autumn is a little later.” These types of changes are built into our future, because the full effects of the greenhouse gases already emitted have not yet been felt.
“Now, clearly, this makes no apply to light: the equinox is still at the same time”, added Trenberth, commenting on the fact that the technical definition of autumn – which depends on the Earth’s position in relation to the Sun – will not change. out of sync. This can seriously affect many creatures, such as birds that rely on insects and food at certain times to feed their young” because although certain aspects of autumn will continue as usual, the weather surrounding the season will often be quite different.
“We will have warmer weather, also leading to a little more moisture in the air, especially in the eastern part of the country,” Diamond said. “It’s not as dry and cool in the mornings as you might expect, and there will be warmer weather when it rains.”
This can translate into more intense precipitation events because warmer air holds more moisture and more water vapor, Diamond explained. “You’ll probably have more warm days in the fall than you used to.”
Diamond also emphasized the importance of not blaming all new autumn-related developments on climate change. For example, nor’easters – or intense storms that originate in the American Northeast – will happen regardless of climate change. At the same time, “I think what we could see are more intense northeasters due to the fact that we have much higher ocean temperatures.” Additionally, although it may seem counterintuitive, climate change also means there could be more snow.
“At higher temperatures, there is more precipitation, so more snow,” Diamond noted. “The same thing happens with sea surface temperatures in the ocean. If they’re higher, there’s more water vapor and more energy for storms. So, for example, a few years ago in Boston, there was a really big blizzard of one day, record And at the same time, the sea surface temperature up to where we were was very high off the coast of Boston. So people might see snow and wonder, ‘What’s the problem with climate change?’ And climate change and global warming are not at all incompatible with snow – in fact, there could be more snow.”
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