Due to unexpectedly intense polar melt over the summer of 2019, the continuing quietness of the solar cycle and the steady slowing of all ocean currents and jet streams, it is not possible to do more than speculate about what is in store for the climate at this point. The combination of warming of the lower parts of the stratosphere and also the oceans has meant that fewer great storms develop, but when they do become organized, they are liable to be extremely strong and move very slowly. Hurricane Dorian, which lingered over the Bahamas for 36 hours, is a good example of this phenomenon.
Cold water pouring into upper mid-latitude waters in the Northern Hemisphere, when combined with reduced solar output could mean a harsh winter for much of the landmass, with sudden and extreme temperature changes especially in Eire and the British Isles due to the fact that the Gulf Stream is driving a lower volume of warm water into the region. At the same time, the temperature of the water that is appearing is higher, but this so far has not been enough to compensate.
As long as Gulf Stream flow is weak, drought conditions will be more probable in Europe generally, and the region will be prone to sudden, strong storms, especially during the shoulder seasons.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the declining strength of ocean currents and increasing heat mean reduced moisture levels in the air over land masses, with subsequent drought conditions becoming potentially catastrophic. In the Northern Hemisphere, drought in the higher latitudes where warming effects are much more pronounced are going to lead to further extension of wildfires during the summer season. Heating of the northern ocean is beginning to lead to release of methane hydrates from the sea floor. This has the potential to increase the intensity of atmospheric heating dramatically.
Planet Earth is experiencing a climate emergency. Unfortunately leadership in the United States, Russia, Australia and India, the four largest countries in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, has failed to address the problem. This is also true in most of Asia, South America, the Middle East and some parts of Europe.
As atmospheric circulation slows, the greatest danger is probably not drought, floods or violent weather, but stationary high pressure areas that will lead to pollution so severe that it will, combined with heat, create life-threatening conditions on a broad scale.
READING THE CLIMATE WATCH INDEX: The index checks ice, sea water warmth and current flow, and weather conditions at key points in the arctic. In general, abnormally high arctic temperatures and low Gulf Stream flow in the winter will mean that the jet stream will be looping far north and south, causing violent weather in the middle latitudes. Extreme summer heat in the arctic will result in more heat further south, and a radical temperature differential between north and south will bring heavy weather across continental areas of Europe and North America. But weather and climate are very complex, and these are never more than probabilities. Overall, the superstorm index remains unchanged, as recent scientific studies have served as confirming evidence.