Climatology: The Science of Global Weather Systems over the Long Term | avesisland.info
National Weather Service Pittsburgh Student Volunteer Program – Summer The intern will assist MRCC climatologists with the outreach and education. Learn more about Meteorology and Climatology at avesisland.info As a weather derivatives trader and Head of the Weather Desk at Williams Steve links atmospheric science and big data to business decision-making for they approached and an internship with the National Weather Service when he was.
Many of these were being pumped out by the thousands of tons each year, with the warming effects of CO2 emissions identified early on. At the time, it was still linked to studying ancient changes to the planet including Jean-Pierre Perraudin who posited that mountain valleys and the boulders within them were created by ancient glaciers Initially mocked for such a suggestion, his theory soon gained traction.
The Later 19th Century Still, climate science remained a small section of meteorology but in came the first breakthrough into understanding anthropogenic climate change. It all began a few years earlier when American scientist Samuel Pierpoint Langley 25 tried to work out the surface temperature of the moon.
He noted lower infrared absorption when the moon was low. Those measurements and others were then used to work out the level of cooling resulting from a lower CO2 level, that that would lead to lower water vapor, more cooling, and more snow and ice coverage. The idea of global cooling based on lower CO2 levels didn't require much of a leap to presume the opposite could also be true Inthe first paper was published attempting to explain and discover sources of increased atmospheric CO2 Volcanoes were an obvious choice, but researchers knew the chemical composition of the coal being burned all over the developed world during the industrial revolution and knew that a byproduct of that burning was CO2.
This was the breakthrough that the young science of climatology had been waiting for. However, because emissions were relatively low, it was not seen as a negative thing to take thousands of years 28 - and would not until the turn of the century.
Early scientists saw it as a good thing but that was without the understanding of the impacts on ecology, biodiversity, the food cycle, sea levels, and long-term weather patterns.
Early 20th Century The first half of the century was one of fierce debate centering on the paper discussed in the last section and the possibility that natural atmospheric changes had caused the past ice ages that researchers had identified; we now know there has been at least five of these Yet still, the evidence for paleoclimate stacked up as the major area of focus for climate science.
Studies in clay deposits across the globe showed climate cycles; the evidence for a non-static climate was building. Researchers in the s and s came up with the theory that the oceans could be a carbon sink Later decades would prove this right, but few understood the implications at the time. In line with evidence from the last century based on the fossil record paleobotany, paleoclimate data and the anomalies of discovering marine remains in desert demonstrated finally that planetary systems were not constant 30that they were always subject to change - our planet, as a living system, had undergone both gradual and catastrophic change and would likely do so again.
That would take researchers after the war years to examine, using new techniques and technologies, to finally record and analyze data produced during the modern industrial era. The s and s In the s, researchers began looking at the climate and ecology through the lens of humanity's actions.
The publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring led to the banning of some toxic chemicals, the birth of ecology and research into how and to what extent humanity's actions in industries and every-day life impacted the climate. Many competing theories sprang up. Amongst them was the idea that we were creating a new Ice Age - Global Cooling was posited and then dismissed and despite claims from modern critics of climate science, it never gained traction and remained a fringe theory for its brief life This is also the decade of the Greenhouse Effect and the discovery of multiple ice ages - including small and brief instances lasting anything from a few hundred to a couple of thousand years It is not difficult to see why some early researchers believed in Global Cooling as a very real threat, something that the media ran away with but never lasted in academic literature.
There was a slight cooling between and that may have fueled this briefly. Aerial pollution became a big problem and the matter came to a head in the s.
Kennedy announced the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act although neither would come into effect during his presidency. The Space Race made everyone realize that we inhabit just one planet 33that our resources are finite and should do what we must to protect the natural environment for future generations.
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As well as having ecological benefits such as reducing pollutants from waterways, it sought to improve damage and risks to climate such as imposing a tax on lead in gasoline which was eventually phased out. Under Nixon's presidency, the Federal government reorganized to look at ways of reducing pollution through its own actions. The s to the Turn of the Millennium By now, climatology was firmly in the ranks of anthropogenic causes of modern fluctuations in the climate.
It was, and is, still concerned with the natural changes and many researchers today still examine this aspect of climatology but typically the evidence from this source is produced to demonstrate human activity and use it as a mitigating factor. The s was a turning point in many ways. It saw critical reductions in aerial pollution, the phasing out in many countries of leaded fuel in our vehicles and its eventual ban in 34similarly with CFCs 35 which were damaging the ozone layer, climate change data consensus.
It was also clear that the mitigating factor of carbon emissions reducing the amount of global warming sometimes known as global dimming were never going to be enough to mitigate the heating effect of the greenhouses gases. Data that reinforced the relationship between ice cores from Greenland and other paleodata 37 showing sometimes catastrophic climate change over a short time, it was quite clear by that despite the natural changes to the planet's climate processes, the existing data had already accounted for it, and undoubtedly humanity's actions since the Industrial Revolution were increasing greenhouse gases and increasing global average temperatures.
Their role is to assess climate change data as it comes to light and to make proposals to the UN and its member bodies on what to do to face down the challenges of a warming world.
It was in the final decade of the millennium that climate science finally broke out of its niche within the Earth Sciences and began forming bonds elsewhere - anthropologyarchaeologygeology, and even economics and business, as the changes required to mitigate our warming world would create a fundamental global economic shift. The 21st Century This millennium is just a couple of decades old, but climatology has come a long way in that time.
Since the turn of the Millennium, few scientific issues have become so popular as a matter of public discourse as climate change. But it's not all good news; the issue has received much political attention through attempts by lobby groups to muddy the waters on the evidence. Yet the evidence only continues to get stronger.
The damage that science denial can do in any field is potentially limitless, but climate change is critical and a strong case in point because it is time sensitive. The longer the data accumulates, the more evidence we acquire and disseminate without action, the more damage is being done. The arrival of big data analytics has helped to further the collection, collation and analysis of data sets, making it far easier and faster than ever before to produce accurate results based on land temperature, sea temperature, and at various points in the atmosphere.
It is also helping scientists all over the world make decisions and present accurate data to decision makers in government Big data analytics also allows scientists to process disparate data sets without intense labor.
One of the results of this is the understanding of the subtle nuances that exist between natural forcings such as solar activity and volcanoes and human-induced climate change such as greenhouse gas emissions. The Future Challenges for Climatology Many challenges associated with climate change are challenges for ecologists, conservationists, and for politicians and other decision-makers to solve, not necessarily for climate researchers.
But climatology does have an exciting future of new discoveries and new technologies; it also has some new challenges to rise to as we head deeper into the 21st century. Studying the Effects on Landscapes As climate change brings changes all over the globe, it will be down to climatologists to observe these changes as they happen and continue to publish data for decision-makers to respond. We are already seeing these effects, most notably in the developing world for people who do not have the resources of the first world and live in so-called marginal landscapes.
Climatology is at the forefront of looking at these changes and comparing data from different years, decades and even centuries. Some lands are sensitive to changes in the water cycle and impact on aquatic resources most critically - not just for drinking water, but also for crops Without water, people in the most affected lands cannot feed themselves. Climate change can also mean the difference between whether an area receives rain or snow, and the longer-range and long-term effects including flooding when seasonal temperatures are too high.
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This has the potential for long-term effects. Studying the Climate Effects of Urbanism It can't be halted, either in the developed nor the developing world, but the spread of urbanism in the landscape creates far greater energy consumption than rural land 41, p Homes need heating and lighting, but so do public buildings, street lighting, shopping malls and industry, commerce and residential zones use far greater energy levels per square foot.
Even without the resource consumption, the spread of urban development causes intense ecological change. But life adapts, and many lifeforms have thrived in urban centers. Plenty of evidence exists now to suggest that urban centers create microclimates 41, p Urban heat islands create large, warm areas of air that affect regional and even global climate when large enough. This is why urban centers will be a key battleground in mitigating the effects of climate change and why climatologists are so interested in studying their effects over time.
Making Sense of Big Data While big data has been a welcome addition to the data sets for climatology, the issue remains that quantity does not equal quality. Climatology in the 21st century runs an even greater risk of accumulating useless and irrelevant or even masses of counterproductive anomalous data, and it will be a major challenge for climatologists to further develop their understanding of data quality in this century New sources include the ever-increasing paleoclimate data, proxy data, and the use of satellite data to take recordings in areas generally inaccessible for manned research - not to mention that using satellite data is far cheaper.
Climatology will continue to deliver these data sets and will, in future, be required to provide broader data sets and more accurate analyses for environmental scientists in other areas.
More than ever, climatology is beginning to overlap with data science. Open Access vs Intellectual Property Rights Over the last ten years, researchers in many sciences have called for all scientific data to become open access - the idea that anybody, anywhere, with the means to do so, can request the findings of published research.
At present, such data is limited to academic journals which are beyond the finances of the average person.
Also, governments the fund such data have traditionally been fiercely protective of the data that their public funds have produced. Both paradigms are understandable - governments that invest in public science projects wish for their country to be the sole beneficiary of the results of that data 43but that does not help the academic community and it's proving a barrier to both public understanding of climatology and to driving the science forward by arming researchers with as much information as possible.
Sub Divisions of Climatology Climatology in its modern form is less than a century old, but already a number of subdivisions have grown up within the discipline to cope with the data and to create niches for experts to specialize. Applied Climatology As with applied chemistry, applied physics and so on, applied climatology is about studying what is actually happening now rather than climate theory of what will happen, or the use of theoretical models to predict events in the short or long-term future This means that applied climatology has much in common with some of the other atmospheric sciences such as meteorology.
Climate events that are happening now for example, any of the oscillations mentioned above have immediate and measurable impacts on weather systems - locally and far away.Weather vs. Climate: Crash Course Kids #28.1
It is arguably the oldest form of climatology, originating long before the birth of the modern science. Bioclimatology Overlapping with ecology in many ways, bioclimatology is the study of climate change both natural and anthropogenic on various life forms and ecological systems. It provided one of the earliest conundrums for naturalistsespecially with the discovery of ancient aquatic fossils in desert areas, and fossilized tropical botanical remains found in areas such as tundra.
As a climate changes - getting wetter or drier, warmer or cooler, that will have a measurable and noticeable impact on the biodiversity as well as the species profiles within these areas Mostly, bioclimatology researchers are concerned with the human impact on ecology and biodiversity, but they study any landscape change resulting from climate change.
Some researchers will also overlap with medical research. As conditions north of the equator in Eurasia and the Americas become warmer and humidity increases, we may observe increasing instances of malarial mosquitos into northern Mexico, the southern US and southern Europe, for example.
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Boundary-Layer Climatology The Boundary Layer is the lowest level of the atmosphere, the area most affected by local and planetary climate change Therefore, boundary layer climatologists study the networks and interactions of the lower atmosphere, and their impact on weather and climate systems, but also how the network of winds are affected by such climate phenomena as rising air and sea temperatures, urban heat islands, and natural events such as volcanic activity.
It also has critical uses for immediate weather patterns in meteorology. Neither boundary-layer climatology nor meteorology exist in isolation and are intrinsically linked. Dynamic Climatology No science exists in a bubble and no subdivision of a broad science does so either. Dynamic climatologists are concerned with examining the accumulated sum total of information acquired from all related sciences 48typically quantitative in nature, based on observed phenomena.
Dynamic climatology examines and handles everything from paleodata to volcanic eruption to looking at short range or short-term weather patterns to long-term climate effects from natural or anthropogenic causes. This area of climatology uses a holistic approach. Historical Climatology While paleoclimatology see below is concerned with the climate of the ancient past, historical climatology is concerned with climate change, alteration and patterns that have existed on the human measurement scale.
It blends climatology with environmental history 50 and sometimes, can complement research in the human Earth sciences such as anthropology, archaeology and human geography.
It seeks to recreate or profile past environments, examining past natural disasters and their effects. This would include the study of the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period, the environmental changes that resulted from volcanic explosions at Krakatoa and Thira. However, it can also examine the human impact on the environment and the after-effects of such human activities as land clearance for agriculture for example, the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution shows clear and distinct topographical change and is traceable in the ecological and archaeological record.
Hydroclimatology How do the natural and anthropogenic changes to the climate affect our waterways? Increased drought and flooding, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, the effects of ocean temperature and pH of our oceans affect how much plankton is produced in any cycle. In turn, this affects the ocean lifecycle. It's a vast, complex and vital ecosystem. Paleoclimatology Historical climatology covers the historical record - starting with the invention of instruments able to take measurements while paleoclimatology is concerned with the entire history of the planet's climate record Typical data sets include taking radiocarbon dates and chemical signatures as ecological indicators from such areas as tree rings - also known as dendrochronology - Antarctic and Arctic ice cores, information from fossilized coral and vegetation, and lake and river sediments.
- Climatology: The Science of Global Weather Systems over the Long Term
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It is through this area that we know the Earth has always changed; it is how we know that Earth has undergone at least five ice ages, the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, and, when comparing ecological data and fossils, how we know the effects that high or low atmospheric carbon will have on the climate. It has also been integral to demonstrating how quickly a climate can change - with a catastrophe or massive climatic event, sometimes within a matter of decades.
Physical Climatology Most of climatology is concerned with looking at data and making projections or presenting the data as facts, statistics, graphs and hard figures - it is quantitative in nature. Physical climatology is more qualitative. It examines and explains how climate can shape topography and geographical systems. For example, it seeks to explain how glaciation is one factor capable of forming valleys and mountains, how extreme flooding events will change a landscape.
Climatologists can also be problem solvers, applying the research to address local climate issues, or to determine how to best work under different climate conditions. For example, they can work with or as weather forecasters, working to improve accuracy through developing new measurement tools and statistical models; conduct simulations; and translate findings into more easily understood terms for the general public.
Environmental Contribution Climatologists are in a unique position to make a positive impact on the environment by working with industry to mitigate their effect on the environment and also to work within the environmental constraints of an area to maximize savings and profit for the company as well as minimize environmental impact.
Where Do Climatologists Work? Climatologists can work in academic and research institutions as well as government, public or private agencies, and nonprofits. Climatologists can also take on a consulting role, working for engineering and environmental consulting firms. Work Environment Climatologists can choose lab, office or field work, or find a position with a combination of all three.
Work Hazards In any lab or field setting, there can be an element of risk. However, with proper safety precautions, the risk of injury is low for a climatologist.
Work Schedules Due to the varied types of work available to a climatologist, you should be able to find any type of work schedule that appeals to you. Consulting work can be either full time or part time, and often involves travel.