Sudden storm. Image credit:Flickr, allspice1, "...entry into the Leave It To Me Challenge #30."
The radical right has been fighting a successful culture war against all things 60's and 70's. Earth day and its legislative outcomes are under especially intense attack, for example. An hallucinatory contact high among these Warriors has them attempting to spin the clock back far enough to re-ignite a Cuyahoga River fire, thereby reconstituting 1969 unemployment levels (approximately 3.5%). Fabulous bit of magical thinking, eh? How long can psychedelic politics last in the face of weather extremes?
From Katrina onward, television has been inundating viewers with storm destruction beyond viewer imagination.
The science-jury is still out on a climate indictment of the 600 tornadoes of April 2011, as well it should be (see The folly of linking tornado outbreaks to "climate change" for details).
Public brains are tripping, nonetheless, as news anchors ask unanswerable questions about storm causation, while Congress holds hearings at which consensus science is held on a par with fossil fuel-sponsored think tank output.
In Texas, which currently finds itself drier than a popcorn toot, commentators and experts alike can say nothing definitive about a climate correlation. See The Texas drought may be historic, but don't blame global warming for an overview.
So...what we are left with is human imagination, or hallucination, as the case may be. Therein lies the problem. When an entire political party bucks science there are likely to be unanticipated side effects.
Updated: Floodwaters originating in the upper Mid-west are moving down the Mississippi River, threatening river cities from Southern Illinois on down to the Delta. The highest impacts could well be in Louisiana - unless the US Army Corps of Engineers is able to purposefully divert flood water by blowing upper levees that protect farm land. There are no win win possibilities in this trade-off. Enter, more TV coverage of the climate-caused misery.
Every severe storm and drought area in the US South may end up being publicly viewed as the product of man-made climate change. To overcome any such 'prejudice,' Republican leadership is needed. To find solutions, Republican leadership is needed.
And finally, a more definitive view of causation from the sciences, via CAP. As Kevin Trenberth, Sc.D., head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, explained at the American Meteorological Society's January 2011 meeting:
"Given that global warming is unequivocal, the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of 'of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming.'"