Weather in a Changing Climate

Thursday January 12, 2012

We have all heard a lot about climate change: rising sea levels, melting ice at the poles. But, climate is a long-term average. What happens on a day-to-day or seasonal basis is the weather: the rain, sun, wind, or lack of those, that we depend upon for food, for agriculture, for water, for the essentials of living a predictable life.

What creates our weather? Why is there a jet stream, and what determines its behavior? How might the circulation patterns that we have built our world upon be affected by changing temperatures at the boundaries of these patterns?

We have just lived through a year of "weird weather", with a record dozen plus disasters causing over $52 billion in damages, and more than 2,000 deaths -- and this is just in the U.S.. The Globe and other media have written that weather is just "unpredictable", a period of "bad luck", an exaggerated El Nino: are they right? Is the weather unpredictable? Or, is it a pattern that we all need to better understand and appreciate?

Clearly, it is time to become more aware of the consequences of the changes that we are making in our atmosphere and oceans, and to start with a better understanding of how our weather is created.

We are delighted to have Martin Singh, from EAPS at MIT to help us gain this understanding and answer some of these questions. Climate change is one thing; perhaps climate changing -- and the consequences -- is the real danger.

Location: First Parish in Cambridge Unitarian Universalist; 3 Church Street, Harvard Square

Time: Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; Presentation begins at 7:30 p.m

Presenter: Martin Singh

Martin Singh is a graduate student in the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT, in the Paul O'Gorman group.

His research focuses on the general circulation of the atmosphere and the large-scale processes that maintain it, specifically in how the atmospheric circulation changes in different climates, and whether we can construct simple conceptual models for these changes. Currently his work is concerned with understanding the upward shift in circulation features that is seen in many models of contemporary climate change.

Mr. Singh completed his undergraduate studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, in atmospheric science and mathematics. His honours research was an investigation of the behaviour of convection in a single column climate model, under the supervision of Christian Jakob.