Climate Challenge Week: Is global warming impacting extreme weather events?

Answering common questions about climate change each day of Earth Week

Climate Challenge Week: Is global warming impacting extreme weather events?

Happy Earth Week!

Teaming up with NBC’s Climate Challenge week, Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross will answer the most-asked questions about climate change all week long.

On Wednesday, we’re addressing the question: Is global warming impacting extreme weather events on Earth?

The answer is yes.

Climate Central did an interesting study to see if there have been any changes to the most extreme precipitation events -- meaning, the top one percent of these events. In the video above, you can see a graph showing that each part of the U.S. is seeing an increase in the number of these events. The midwest and northeast, including Michigan, have seen the largest increases.

The reason for this is simple: In a warming world, more ocean water evaporates into the atmosphere, and that additional moisture is then available for strong storm systems to turn into additional precipitation.

And what about tornadoes?

A graph in the video above shows that the number of tornadoes occurring during the biggest tornado outbreaks is increasing. Nighttime tornadoes are also on the rise, which is particularly problematic because more people are killed by nighttime tornadoes than during the day.

Watch the full report in the video above.

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About the Author:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.