Scientists equate extreme weather with climate change
The recent heat waves and extreme storms in the eastern United States, the numerous wildfires in Colorado and other Western states, flooding elsewhere in the country…
Since 1988 climate scientists have associated these kinds of extreme weather events, though not specific weather events, to climate change or global warming. What we’ve been seeing in different parts of the US this summer is what scientists say will occur more frequently as the planet heats up.
According to Princeton University geosciences and international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer, droughts, floods, wildfires, extreme storms and other environmental disasters are “what global warming really looks like.”
From the Associated Press:
So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the U.S. were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida.
And it’s far from over, according to a new study lead by UC Berkley scientists, which predicts that global warming will result in more wildfires in California and other Western states. The study says that many of the world’s forests will experience more wildfires as the planet heats up, with the exception of some climates like tropical rain forests, which should have less fires due to increased rainfall.
Read more on that story in the Los Angeles Times.
Meanwhile in the UK, we’ve just experienced the wettest (and second dullest) June on record, with more than twice as much rainfall as normal.
More on that from the BBC.
For a selection of statements from top climate scientists concerning the relationship with extreme weather and global warming or climate change, see Leo Hickman’s Environment Blog in the Guardian and check out this video interview with Kevin Trenberth, climate scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, from PBS.org.
Watch What’s Causing Unusually Hot Temperatures in U.S.? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.