John Allen

In a warmer world with increasing amounts of thermodynamic energy, more water in the atmosphere and changes in the jet streams, you get greater instability and more frequent thunderstorms.

I’m a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University in New York, having completed my PhD on the impacts of climate change on severe thunderstorms in Australia. I chase storms because when I visualise things, I can see the mathematics in the atmosphere.  I’ve been pretty close to tornadoes and I can see the processes going on: the physics of severe thunderstorms.

Until now, people haven’t really understood the likelihood of a severe thunderstorm in Australia and in a warmer world that changes quite a bit. My research proved that the conditions favourable to severe thunderstorms in Australia were remarkably similar to those in America, where more research has been carried out.  In fact, conditions are similar worldwide.

In a warmer world with increasing amounts of thermodynamic energy, more water in the atmosphere and changes in the jet streams, you get greater instability and more frequent thunderstorms. If we know storm environments are similar worldwide, we can use modelling in places where there is no — or limited — data like South Africa, China and South America.

Quotes are taken from The Citizen’s MyPhd series. See the rest of the article here.