Monday, February 22, 2010

Global Warming Could Increase Effects of Atmospheric Blocking

Research now being conducted by the University of Missouri's Atmospheric Science department, indicates that atmospheric blocking, a general stagnation in the weather pattern, such as never-ending heat waves or winter storms like we saw this past summer and winter, can and will have a significant impact on local agriculture, business and the environment. And wait, hold your breath, here it comes... yup, as expected, such weather patterns could be increasing due to global warming!

The goal of the research is to ultimately help forecasters better predict blocking and warn people in the path of severe weather of these potential long-lasting, life-impacting events, and in conducting the research, they are trying to see if increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the resulting atmospheric warming will affect the onset and duration of future blocking occurrences.

Blocking usually results when a powerful, high-pressure area gets stuck in one place and, because they cover a large area, fronts behind them are blocked. It is anticipated that in a warmer world, blocking events will be more numerous and longer-lived, therefore resulting in an environment with more storms. Areas most impacted would be North America, Europe and Asia.