Global warming will kick the crap out of different hemispheres in different ways

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Global warming affects all of us, but that doesn't mean it'll unite the world. If anything, it'll split the planet in two: Storms in the northern hemisphere will follow a very different pattern than storms in the southern hemisphere.

Paul O'Gorman, at MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, noticed that the strong winds that help create storms were where the warming occurs in the atmosphere. Low warming means intense storms. Warming higher up creates milder storms. He used data collected between 1981 and 2000 to extrapolate what storms would look like, once the planet starts heating up.

It looks like the Southern hemisphere will be hit hard and long, all year around. Storms there will experience an increase in intensity, regardless of the season. The northern hemisphere will get mild summers, with less summer storms, and harsher winters.


If you think this sounds like a good deal for the northern hemisphere, think again. Lower winds will leave northerners stewing in their own waste. O'Gorman explains in the press release.

There would be less movement of air to prevent the buildup of pollutants in the atmosphere. . . . Likewise, stronger storms year-round in the Southern Hemisphere would lead to stronger winds over the Antarctic Ocean, which would impact ocean circulation. Because the ocean circulation redistributes heat throughout the world's oceans, any change could impact the global climate.


It's poetic, a combination of sleeping in the bed we've made, and having nowhere left to hide. But it's not comforting. At least, with enough data, global warming is becoming the devil we know.

Via Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States.