The new chief of the World Meteorological Organization said it looks to her that the rate of human-caused climate change is accelerating and that warming has triggered more Arctic cold outbreaks in North America and Europe, weighing in on two issues that divide climate scientists.
“We are not there in terms of our scientific understanding of the implications of this acceleration. We don’t fully understand how it is going to evolve,” Saulo said.
In another area of hot debate among scientists, Saulo said she sees a link between amped up warming in the Arctic and more sudden but deep cold outbreaks in North America and Europe, often referred to as the polar vortex escaping its normal northern confines. What’s happening is that the difference between winter temperatures in the Arctic and the mid-latitudes isn’t as large as it used to be, which triggers changes in the jet stream more frequently, she said.
“There’s this huge concern, particularly in the northern hemisphere because of the continental area is exposed and so many people are living there,” Saulo said.
Saulo said the world needs to act quickly but she said there are powerful economic forces that keep that from happening.