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Extreme weather will be 21st-century norm

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    Extreme weather will be 21st-century norm Tuesday, November 01, 2005 BY KITTA MacPHERSON Star-Ledger Staff Extreme temperatures. Drenching rain. It s all
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2005
      Extreme weather will be 21st-century norm
      Tuesday, November 01, 2005
      Star-Ledger Staff
      Extreme temperatures. Drenching rain.

      It's all coming this century.

      The forecasts are being produced courtesy of what is being billed
      as "the most comprehensive climate model to date of the continental
      U.S." The climate model, a mathematical representation of reality
      that projects weather trends, was created by scientists at Purdue

      The vast computer program takes into consideration factors that have
      been ignored or given short shrift before -- such as the effects of
      snow reflecting solar energy back into space and the consequences of
      high mountain ranges blocking weather fronts traveling across them --
      according to Noah Diffenbaugh, the team's lead scientist.

      A more powerful computer and a better understanding of these facts
      allowed the team to generate a far more clear image of what weather
      citizens can expect to encounter over the next 100 years, he said.

      "This is the most detailed projection of climate change that we have
      for the U.S.," Diffenbaugh said. "And the changes our climate model
      predicts are large enough to substantially disrupt our economy and

      Some of these projections are:

      In the northeastern U.S. -- the region east of Illinois and north of
      Kentucky -- summers will be longer and hotter. "Imagine the weather
      during the hottest two weeks of the year," Diffenbaugh said. "The
      area could experience temperatures in that range lasting for periods
      up to two months by century's end."

      The desert Southwest will experience more heat waves of greater
      intensity, combined with less summer precipitation.

      The Gulf Coast will be hotter and will receive its precipitation in
      greater volumes over shorter time periods.

      The continental U.S. will experience an overall warming trend.
      Temperatures now experienced during the two coldest weeks of the year
      will be a thing of the past. Winter's length will diminish, as well.

      Climate models are sophisticated computer codes that attempt to
      include as many details as possible about the complex workings of the
      environment. Hundreds of dynamic processes, such as ocean currents,
      cloud formations, vegetation cover and -- of particular import -- the
      increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases are programmed into the
      computers. The machines then attempt to calculate the effects on
      square-shaped plots of land that represent small pieces of the
      earth's surface. The smaller these squares are, the finer
      the "picture."

      "The study is the latest and most detailed simulation of climatic
      change in the United States," said Stephen Schneider, a climate
      expert at Stanford University in California.



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