Meteorologists Say Current Heat Wave Is Sign Of Climate Change
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Aired 8/14/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Alex Tardy, Meteorologist, National Weather Service
Daniel Cayan, Research Meteorologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Special Feature NOAA: July 2012 Is Hottest Month Ever Recorded
As temperatures reached into the high 80s on the coast and 100 inland for the second straight week, some fondly remembered recent San Diego summers that never seemed to arrive at all.
While San Diego was largely spared from the extreme heat plaguing the country in July, local temperatures this August are on pace to break some records, said Alex Tardy, a meteorologist, National Weather Service.
Tardy said another heat wave is building this week, and added San Diego should have "one more good heat wave" in September.
"We'll hold our breath that we don't have a lot of wind during our normal fire season," he added.
Daniel Cayan, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography said the recent heat wave and droughts are "undoubtedly" linked to climate change.
He said while this heat wave is "certainly not the only one we've ever seen," "it's likely that climate warming from greenhouse gases is playing an incremental role."
A climate model Cayan created with colleagues predicts that by 2060, these conditions may be the new normal. That means a heat wave like this one will be even more intense, he added.
The California Department of Water Resources predicts that by 2050, at least 25 percent of the Sierra snow pack will be lost, one of the state's most important sources of urban, agricultural and environmental water.
In addition, weather patterns are becoming more variable and more severe, causing more violent weather events like floods and drought. Eventually, these new patterns will cause a rise in the sea level, which thus far, has not impacted Southern California.