Friday, December 15, 2017
 
Research to measure cost of climate change,  improve prediction of severe weather

Research to measure cost of climate change, improve prediction of severe weather

NOAA researchers team up with partners on economic and other climate research

New research appearing online today in the journal Nature Climate Change by NOAA and partners forecasts the effects of climate change on countries' economic output and suggests that rising greenhouse gases may contribute to more extreme El Niños, the climate phenomenon that can trigger severe weather.

In one of three articles with NOAA authors, physical scientist Sarah Kapnick of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey, teamed up with University of Arizona economist Derek Lemoine to propose a new method to predict how regional warming will affect the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of nations around the world.

Predicting the cost of climate clange

Predicting the cost of climate clange

This map shows the differences in economic growth over 10 years due to increasing global temperatures. Red colors mean an increase in economic growth due to warming while blue colors mean growth declines. The darker the colors, the more extreme the change. (NOAA/ University of Arizona)
Combining the latest physical models, socio-economic information and the economic impacts of past warming periods, Kapnick and Lemoine project that future warming could raise the average rate of economic growth in richer countries, reduce it in poorer countries and increase the variability of many countries' growth rates as warming increases climate variability.

“Our paper shows that poorer countries are more susceptible to climate change than richer countries and less able to adapt,” said Kapnick. “This research gives us another tool to calculate the costs of climate change.”

Lemoine added: “We’re not forecasting that climate change is good for any countries. We’re looking at a certain slice of how near-term climate change affects GDP. This does not take into account the full value of having a forest standing, having diverse species or other nonmarket values.”

“We need to drill down on these nonmarket costs in future research,” Lemoine added.

Predicting El Niños is key to forecasting severe weather

In a commentary in Nature Climate Change, Michael McPhaden, a senior scientist from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, explores the question of why a much anticipated El Niño did not occur in 2014, but an unforeseen strong El Niño is developing in 2015. McPhaden suggests several possible reasons, among which are long-term changes in background oceanic and atmospheric conditions, including warming trends in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific due to greenhouse gas emissions.

These background conditions affect the development of El Niño and its impacts by modifying feedbacks between the ocean and the atmosphere in the tropical Pacific.  McPhaden stresses the need for more research to improve prediction of El Niño, the dominant year-to-year climate phenomenon driving extreme weather conditions worldwide.

McPhaden and Gabriel Vecchi of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory join with 15 other researchers in another paper, which suggests greenhouse warming is likely to contribute to more extreme El Niños and La Niñas in the future, triggering more catastrophic weather events.

“Research to improve the prediction of El Niño is so important to the world and also to our own country,” Vecchi said. “If we can confidently predict El Niño we can say something about what kind of weather to expect in the coming winter in various regions of our country. This will allow us to give communities and businesses environmental information to enable better decisions by organizations and individuals.”

To read “A top-down approach to projecting market impacts of climate change,” by Derek Lemoine and Sarah Kapnick, go to: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2759.html

To read “Playing hide and seek with El Niño,” by Michael McPhaden, go to: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2775.html

To read “ENSO and greenhouse warming,” by Wenju Cai and 16 other authors, including NOAA’s McPhaden and Gabriel Vecchi, go to: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2743.html

To watch a short video explaining El Niño, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tuou_QcgxI  

For more information, please contact Monica Allen, director of public affairs at NOAA Research, at 301-734-1123 or by email at monica.allen@noaa.gov

Print
11271
 

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x

Most Popular In Depth

GFDL Internships Support NOAA, Community Diversity Efforts

GFDL Internships Support NOAA, Community Diversity Efforts Read more

This summer, NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) hosted 10 interns, ranging from a high school senior to graduate students well on their way to their Ph.D. degrees. Each intern conducted research relevant to GFDL’s climate-science mission, and most presented their findings at GFDL and at their home institutions.

Small Mussels with Big Effects: Invasive Quagga Mussels Eat Away at...

Small Mussels with Big Effects: Invasive Quagga Mussels Eat Away at... Read more

Since hitching unsolicited rides in boat ballast water in the late 1980s, invasive quagga mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis), which are native to Ukraine, have caused massive changes to the ecology of the Great Lakes.  These invasive mussels have also taken a toll on the Great Lakes recreational and commercial fisheries, which are valued at $4-7 million annually.

Texas Sea Grant researchers help beach visitors avoid the grip of rip...

Texas Sea Grant researchers help beach visitors avoid the grip of rip... Read more

Dr. Chris Houser was studying rip current development on a beach in Florida when he noticed something curious: many beachgoers were spreading their beach blankets on the sand directly in front of an active rip current and swimming in the rip channel.

Never Missing an Opportunity, Ship of Opportunity That Is, to Collect...

Never Missing an Opportunity, Ship of Opportunity That Is, to Collect... Read more

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words carbon dioxide? Is it the ocean? In this day and age, it should be. The ocean absorbs about one fourth of the extra carbon dioxide in the air that is released through human activity, according to a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Clearing up a cloudy view of phytoplankton's role in the climate system

Clearing up a cloudy view of phytoplankton's role in the climate system Read more

Phytoplankton - tiny plant-like organisms drifting through the great, vast ocean - are barely visible to the naked eye, and some are visible only through a microscope. Yet, when they are thriving, it is possible to see them from as far away as space. Their location is marked by swirling patterns of bright blues and greens that give the ocean a slick, marbled appearance, like oil on water.


Research Videos

Oceanic & Atmospheric Research Headquarters

1315 East-West Highway | Silver Spring, MD 20910 | 301-713-2458