As the Anthropocene Era unfolds, I keep learning of weather phenomena we'd rather not experience. First it was a haboob over Phoenix.
A "fast-moving, long-lived, large, and violent thunderstorm complex" fueled by a heat wave and jet stream.
During summer, the jet stream atop a sprawling heat dome is sometimes called a “ring of fire” due to the tendency for explosive thunderstorms to form along this weather front separating hot, humid air to the south and cooler, drier air to the north.
As the intensity of the heat wave, without reservation, was a key factor in the destructiveness of this derecho event - it raises the question about the possible role of manmade climate warming (from elevated greenhouse concentrations).
Lately I've wondered how many years until we have a nontornadic storm with an order of magnitude more energy than a normal thunderstorm. This one came along pretty quick like. Perhaps then the Deniers will wake up. But ... perhaps they'll accuse us of fabricating evidence to make money off of coffin sales.
It seems derechos aren't a new kind of storm.
The existence of past derechos doesn't mean global warming isn't making them more frequent or intense.
Do you live in a dercho risk area?
About Derechos provides a full history. Only one has been recorded outside of the US, in Europe.
Have you experienced extreme weather in the past year. A Yale poll in March concluded
Overall, 82 percent of Americans report that they personally experienced one or more types of extreme weather or natural disaster in the past year. These include extreme high winds (60%), extreme rainstorms (49%), extreme heat waves (42%), drought (34%), extreme cold temperatures (29%), extreme snowstorms (26%), tornadoes (21%),floods (19%), hurricanes (16%) or wildfires (15%).
Climate Change means fewer thunderstorms but more violent ones, including more lightening.
Researchers are working to identify exactly how a changing climate will impact specific elements of weather, such as clouds, rainfall, and lightning. A Tel Aviv University researcher has predicted that for every one degree Celsius of warming, there will be approximately a 10 percent increase in lightning activity.
An increase in lightning activity will have particular impact in areas that become warmer and drier as global warming progresses, including the Mediterranean and the Southern United States...
Researchers predict fewer but more intense rainstorms in other regions, a change that could result in flash-flooding, says Prof. Price. In Italy and Spain, heavier storms are already causing increased run-off to rivers and the sea, and a lack of water being retained in groundwater and lakes. The same is true in the Middle East, where small periods of intense rain are threatening already scarce water resources. [emphasis mine]
Is the Derecho is an example of a "more violent thunderstorm"?
Here's another weather phenomenon we may see more of as Climate Destabilization progresses, the Fire Devil or Fire Tornado.
Like the dust devils that spring up on clear, sunny days in the deserts of the Southwest, a fire devil is birthed when a disproportionately hot patch of ground sends up a plume of heated air. But while dust devils find their heat source in the sun, fire devils arise from hot spots in preexisting wildfires.
"These plumes form in a very small region over the land," Wysocki explained. "They start to rise very rapidly, and as things start to rise, they suck the surrounding air in like a vacuum. Then you get this twisting that begins to resemble a vortex."
As the vortex rises and sucks the blaze up with it, its diameter begins to shrink and, like an ice skater pulling in her limbs to gather speed in a spin, its rotation accelerates.
Though humans rarely witness fire devils, they may be more common than we think. Their most likely home, the blazing heart of a raging forest fire, is usually hidden from our view, Wysocki said.
"Fire tornadoes can last for an hour or more, and they can't be extinguished directly..."
National Geographic has a slideshow on Fire Tornado's at
Combustible, carbon-rich gases released by burning vegetation on the ground are fuel for most fire tornadoes, Forthofer said. "The vegetation on the ground heats up enough to release gas, but some of the gas can't combust, because it doesn't have enough oxygen around it."
When sucked up by a whirl of air, this unburned gas travels up the core until it reaches a region where there is enough fresh, heated oxygen to set it ablaze. That's why the flames in a fire tornado's core look so tall and skinny, Forthofer said.
"The [gases] can't burn until they mix with enough oxygen, and that might not happen until way up above the ground."