You'd be hard-pressed to find a better example of the sort of weather we can come to expect in a warming world than the sort that hit the U.S. this very spring. Meteorologist Jeff Masters recently concluded a comprehensive analysis of the weather patterns over the last few months, and the results would be shocking to anyone who hadn't watched the endless reports of flooding and deluges in much of the nation, and the crippling droughts in the south. Yes, 9 states broke records for the wettest spring, and saw unprecedented precipitation. Texas, however, set its own record: Least rainfall ever.
Welcome to the "new normal", as Newsweek says. Remember, warmer air holds more moisture, which is why climate change can causes an increase in rainfall in wet regions while simultaneously utterly drying out more arid ones. That's why Masters has termed this spring "the most extreme on record".
From Joe Romm's Climate Progress: "Extreme weather disasters, especially deluges and floods, are on the rise -- and the best analysis says human-caused warming is contributing (see Two seminal Nature papers join growing body of evidence that human emissions fuel extreme weather, flooding). Craig Fugate, who heads the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in December, "The term '100-year event' really lost its meaning this year" (see Munich Re: "The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change")."
Romm goes on to quote climate scientist Kenneth Trenberth, who says that "When natural variability is compounded by human influences on climate, this is what we get. Records are not just broken, they are smashed! It's as clear a warning as we are going to get about prospects for the future.
He also notes that not every year will see these kinds of extremes, but that we can expect many more years like this as climate change progresses -- they're precisely what the models predicted. No wonder, then, that 71% of Americans think addressing this calamity should be a high priority.
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