Questions for ‘The odd ways that weather can unfold in a warming world’


Hurricane Harvey caused flooding in many areas around Houston, Texas, in 2017. Scientists now know that climate change made the storm wetter.

Revolution Messaging/Flickr (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

To accompany feature “The odd ways that weather can unfold in a warming world”


Before Reading

1.  Name three bits of evidence that surface temperatures have been rising across the globe.

2.  How would you characterize the weather where you live, season by season? How would you expect this to change in a warmer world?

During Reading: 

1.  What was the record rainfall for the United States and what storm dropped it?

2.  Name four of Harvey’s impacts on Texas and Louisiana, based on this article.

3.  How is weather different from climate?

4.  Based on the article, what is the source of winds?

5.  What leads to thunderstorms?

6.  What are “cyber-storms” and why did Kerry Emanuel create them? What did he learn from them?

7.  Give two reasons that future heat waves may become more common.

8.  Evaporation dries the soil but does what to the air and ground?

9.  How does the amount of soil moisture in a region affect the degree to which sunlight warms the soil?

10. What’s the explanation for why a warming world has made Siberia colder, according to Pengfei Zhang’s computer analyses?

After Reading: 

1.  What types of extreme weather is your area of the world vulnerable to (for instance, is it drought, rains and flooding, glacial melting, high winds, excessive snows, hurricanes)? Now, if your community were to experience such extreme events at least once every 10 years, not once a century (as before), how would you recommend that people prepare? Analyze the costs of making those preparations. What does that tell you about the potential impacts of climate change on your community?

2.  One impact of climate change is to make weather events more extreme and the frequency of such events harder to predict. How does that uncertainty make planning more difficult? Consider it in the context of where you live and the extreme weather events that could befall your community.