The Woolwich Observer

DYER: Climate change will bring more extreme weather, and the need for government­s to actually be prepared


around that loop and kept going east, but the kink stayed put and the cold air in it froze Texas. This pattern will recur lots of times, and Texans will have to learn to live with it. Climate change doesn’t care whether you believe in it or not – and it may get worse.

In June and July of

2018 record-breaking heatwaves hit the western United States, Western Europe and the Caucasus-Caspian Sea region at the same time, while there was extreme rainfall and flash flooding on the U.S. east coast, in eastern

Europe and in Japan. It was all happening in big Rossby loops that had taken over the entire jet stream.

All the loops, containing hot dry air or cool moist air, were ‘stuck’ for upwards of two weeks. Norway had its hottest temperatur­e ever but only half the normal rainfall for July, while in Japan severe floods and landslides caused by heavy rain destroyed more than 10,000 homes.

By last year, researcher­s had found that over the past 20 years the same pattern of seven stalled peaks and lows over the same regions – ‘wave-7’ – has lasted seven times for more than two weeks. In the previous 20 years (1980-2000), that had not happened even once.

This suggests that the pattern is getting stronger – and the latitudes where the loops are stalling include most of the major ‘breadbaske­t’ regions of the northern hemisphere. If we’re looking at a future of synchroniz­ed crop-killing droughts and heatwaves in those regions, world food production is in big trouble.

It’s often the ‘unknown unknowns’ that do the worst damage.

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