Bigger ‘Bomb Cyclones’ Could Deluge Bay Area in Coming Decades, Climate Study Finds

Extreme storms like the massive bomb cyclone that drenched the San Francisco Bay Area last October are likely to become more powerful in the coming decades as climate change alters atmospheric conditions.

The Bay Area could see between 26% and 37% more water from these mega-storms by the end of the century, according to a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory commissioned by the city.

Why Does the Weather Stall? New Theories Explain Enigmatic ‘Blocks’ in the Jet Stream

It was the summer of 2003 in Europe, and, for a while, it seemed as if Earth’s weather system had broken down. For weeks a huge mass of air stalled over the continent, slowly subsiding and suppressing cloud formation, leaving day after day of brilliantly clear skies. The mercury rose, and a record-breaking heat wave gripped countries including France and Germany, causing 70,000 deaths. Then, as abruptly as it set in, the persistent atmospheric block eased, and high winds brought relief.

Few weather phenomena are as widely experienced—but poorly understood—as an atmospheric block. When a block arises, typically at the western edge of a continent, the jet stream splits, trapping a blob of seemingly static air thousands of kilometers across. Such blocks can last for weeks, and drive heat waves, drought, and winter cold snaps.