"We Have Never Seen a Year Like This Before": Meteorologist Jeff Masters
The devastating tornadoes and rampant flooding that's rocked the nation this year has often left the public with more questions than answers when it naturally sought out 'big picture' explanations to the extreme weather events. The biggest question of all, of course, was whether the extreme storms could be blamed on global climate change. We've run a couple posts attempting to shed some light on the answer to that question -- which, as succinctly as possible, goes something like this:No one event can ever be "blamed" on climate change. But scientists predict that human-induced warming will make events like extreme flooding and droughts more frequent and more devastating.
If you'd prefer a more elaborate assessment of the link, check out the video above. Meteorologist Jeff Masters and Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe appeared on PBS's News Hour to discuss precisely that topic, and they do so with aplomb.
Understanding the link between these weather events and man-made global warming is crucial, as they're already starting to take their toll around the world: last year, natural disasters left 42 million people homeless, and 90% of those disasters were potentially exacerbated by the hotter climate.
We need to start taking a serious look at what sort of adaptation efforts we need to fast-track, as the warmer, wetter world doesn't much care whether anyone built their house on a flood plain or an increasingly wildfire-prone grassland. In other words, we need to do precisely the opposite of what politicians in the US House of Representatives are doing -- blocking crucial adaptation measures.
As Newsweek declared, this kind of extreme weather is the "new normal". It's time to prepare.
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