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Climate Experts: More Extreme Weather to Come

It's official. Droughts, floods, heatwaves, and hurricanes can, indeed, be tied to a climate made increasingly chaotic by human activity.
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Weather clock photo by Sean Carney

Photo by Sean Carney.

In a supplement to their State of the Climate report released in July, climate scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) attributed—for the first time—recent extreme weather events to human-induced climate change.

The study found increasing evidence that specific events, and patterns of events—such as floods, heat waves, and drought—can now be linked to human activities such as greenhouse gas emissions.

Of the six extreme weather events in 2011, the report indicates that five were at least partly caused by climate change. Last year’s record heat wave in Texas was about 20 times more likely to have happened due to climate change than natural variations in weather systems, according to the report.

“Every weather event that happens now takes place in the context of a changing global environment,” commented Kathryn D. Sullivan, deputy NOAA administrator. “This annual report provides scientists and citizens alike with an analysis of what has happened so we can all prepare for what is to come.”


Heidi Bruce wrote this article for It's Your Body, the Fall 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Heidi is a former YES! intern.

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