Extreme Weather Hits Home – Weblog

December 21, 2007

Increasing Incidence of Ice Storms

Filed under: Freezing/Melting — Tags: , , , — John Banta @ 6:35 pm

Extreme Weather Hits Home, Protecting Your Buildings From Climate Change  This may seem counter-intuitive, but the increasing incidence of ice storms is being connected with climate change. The December 9th and 10th ice storms in Oklahoma and surrounding states has set records for causing power outages. Oklahoma Gas and Electric has indicated that over half of their customers lost power due to the storms for the first time ever.

So how can an ice storm be associated with global warming? Warmer temperatures mean the upper atmosphere can hold more moisture. When this moisture condenses it begins to fall as rain. If surface conditions are below freezing, the rain drops freeze and become ice. When upper atmosphere temperatures are cold the water falls as snow not rain. Snow is less damaging since it weighs about 1/10th as much as ice. So global warming is resulting in more ice storms because the snow doesn’t form.

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