photo by DFID – UK Department for International Development

While individual events like heat waves, cold snaps, floods and droughts cannot be attributed to man made climate change on an individual basis, scientists at the World Meteorological Association (WMO) say global warming exacerbates the intensity of recent extreme weather.

The floods in China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the heat wave and resultant wild fires in Russia and the intense rain in central Europe all point to the fact that extreme weather events have tripled since 1980.

From an article by Reuters:

Recent extremes include mudslides in China and heat records from Finland to Kuwait — adding to evidence of a changing climate even as U.N. negotiations on a new global treaty for costly cuts in greenhouse gas emissions have stalled.

Whatever the cause of specific weather events – the change in Asia’s monsoons is largely attributed to La Niña – a warming of the planet ‘is likely to bring more events of this sort’, according to Henning Rodhe, professor emeritus of chemical meteorology at Stockholm University, in reference to the current heat wave in Russia.

The heat in Russia is also climatically linked to the flooding in Pakistan.

From an article in the Economist:

Peter Stott, the head of climate monitoring at Britain’s Met Office, says that a change in the jet stream, which is part of the bigger pattern of gridlock in the upper atmosphere, has allowed more warm, moist monsoonal air to flow north to Pakistan. At the same time, says Professor Hoskins, cold air has been entering the region in the upper parts of the atmosphere, flowing south from Siberia as part of the same persistent pattern that is keeping Russia hot. The influx of cold air on top of warm, moist air favours the sort of deep convection that creates powerful storms, turning moisture in the air into water on the ground very efficiently.

How climate change will effect future weather patterns may be ultimately unpredictable – but the evidence seems to point to the likelihood that there will be more heat waves and more intense floods on the way.