Monday, April 18, 2011

Predicting global climate change and severe weather

Andrea Bernard in the Curtin News (Australia): Curtin University meteorologists have developed sophisticated modelling techniques able to aid the prediction of extreme weather events as a result of natural and human-induced climate change on the Earth. The research by Curtin geofluid flow experts, Professor Lance Leslie and Associate Professor Diandong Ren, of the Australian Sustainability Development Institute, focuses on climate change and its impact through interpretation of observations and output from sophisticated climate and weather models.

Professor Leslie said the research would help to better predict severe weather around the world, including droughts, sea level changes, ice sheet and glacier melting, tsunamis and landslides. “Depending on the research area, improved predictions reside in the level of sophistication of the models, the applications of the models to mudslides, ice sheet and glacier melting, the use of advanced computational intelligence, as well as pattern recognition approaches to understanding the impacts of climate change,” Professor Leslie said.

“For example, from our research we can predict landslide and mudslide probabilities by establishing rainstorm threshold totals for any area on the globe. “This means that if we can predict at least several days in advance how much rain there will be and if the rainfall exceeds the threshold, it will help governments and communities to be better prepared in the event of an evacuation for minimisation of casualties and damage.”

Professor Leslie said his research was also aimed at providing more accurate estimates of how fast and to what extent the Greenland ice sheet and glaciers would shrink and therefore the impact upon the rest of the world. “Sea level rises can seriously affect low-lying, often heavily populated coastal areas which we can estimate more accurately from the predicted melting of the Greenland ice sheet in the expected future warming climate,” he said….

Aerial photo of the Greenland ice, by Túrelio, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

No comments: