Tropical forests are crucial for sucking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But they’re also subject to intense storms that can cause “windthrow” – the uprooting or breaking of trees. A new study finds that more extreme thunderstorms from climate change will likely cause a greater number of large windthrow events in the Amazon, which could impact the rainforest’s ability to serve as a carbon sink.
As another atmospheric river impacts California on January 4th and 5th — with more rain forecast after that — Michael Wehner, a senior scientist in the Computational Research Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, discusses how climate change is increasing the rainfall from these drenching storms and how people can better prepare. Wehner uses observational data and advanced computer modeling to understand the behavior of extreme weather events in a changing climate, especially heat waves, intense precipitation, drought, and tropical cyclones.
We hear about climate models all the time, but how many of us know how they actually work? In this episode, we peel back the curtain, discussing where these models came from, what they can do amazingly well, and their current limitations. And our guests talk about what it’s like for them, personally, when their work is doubted, minimized, or politicized. After all, climate scientists find themselves in the hot seat a lot more often than other scientists. Today’s guests are experts not only in the science itself, but with staying cool under pressure, communicating their science with the public, and laughing off the negativity.