November 17, 2013
Five Driving Factors of Climate Change
First, climate change; is it real? Yes, climate change is real and has been happening ever since the Earth was born. We have had many ice ages, along with many warming periods on the earth. The real question is what causes the Earth to warm and cool. In this article, I will show you my five rules of thumb when looking at climate and the changes that are taking place.
#1 – Solar Cycle: Many people don’t fully understand how the solar cycle can have an impact on the global climate change, but it’s simple. The sun goes through cycles of its own. Every 11 years the sun cycles from a max period to a min period. During the period of max, more energy is being released to the earth. This in return can have an impact on global temperatures. When the sun enters a min, it can also create global temperature impacts. The impacts are not huge; however, they are well noted. If you pull up past climate data and compare, you can see it works out just nicely and matches up quite well.
#2 – ENSO Phase: This phase is probably one of the most difficult to understand fully. However, over the past 10-20 years many accomplishments have been taking place to better understand this process. We now know that certain events in the ENSO phase can have large impacts on the climate short term. A good example of this is during an El-Nino phase when it can create some cold winters over the United States and also lead to more snowfall in the Southern Plains. Did you know that? During an El-Nino event, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has recorded almost all of their snow events. That would be a huge climate indicator for the Mississippi Gulf Coast to know that during an El-Nino year, the chances of seeing snow are higher than a non El-Nino year. Secondly, during La-Nina years, severe weather tends to be more significant with more events occurring. That could be another climate indicator. Hurricanes are also impacted by these two events. This could also lead to Hurricane Climate understanding.
#3 – Ocean Phases: These are also known to have impacts on climate. For example, in the Pacific Ocean there is a cold phase and a warm phase. During the cold phase the surface waters are a tad bit cooler than normal. This can lead to decreased precipitation amounts during this phase that can last up to 30years in time. This would be another key climate factor, especially along the West Coast of the United States, having large impacts on the amount of rainfall they may see. There is also a warm side to this as well. We have actually just left the last warm phase, which took place during the early 2000’s. This is why we were dealing with such warm air temperatures and seeing an increase in precipitation patterns across the globe. Again, this can be another huge climate factor.
#4 – Glaciation: The earth goes through two phases, ice ages and warm phases. During this time period the glaciers will fluctuate in size and coverage area. When the earth is in a warmer cycle of the climate, the glaciers tend to loose size and decrease in coverage allowing for more water to enter the oceans. This in return can lead to rising sea levels, like we are seeing now. During a global cooling phase, which we are seeing now, the glaciers will gain size and coverage. This will force more sea level falls as more water is transferred into ice. So again, glaciation is an important part to the climate cycle as well.
Lastly, the fifth clue to climate change. We need to look at natural causes of warmth and cooling.
#5 – Post Ice Age Conditions vs. Ice Age Conditions: This is also an important part to understanding climate; during ice age era’s the earth is cooling in general. This can be created by a large massive impulse of volcanic eruptions taking the solar radiation away from the earth; during this time the earth is naturally cooling. During a post ice age era, also known as a warming trend, the sun has more power to force the earth into a warming cycle, which in return causes the earth to take a general rise in air temperatures around the globe.