Don’t Blame Mother Nature

For those who like their heads sandwiched in the sand, read no further. And for those who have lived long enough to witness with their own eyes the obvious differences between the weather as it is and as it once was, this out of Newsweek:

Global warming has left its clearest fingerprint on heat waves. Since the record scorcher of 1998, the average annual temperatures in the United States in six of the past 10 years have been among the hottest 10 percent on record. Climatologists predict that days so hot they now arrive only once every 20 years will, by midcentury, hit the continental United States once every three years. Scientists also discern a greenhouse fingerprint in downpours, which in the continental United States have increased 20 percent over the past century.

In a warmer world, air holds more water vapor, so when cloud conditions are right for that vapor to form droplets, more precipitation falls. Man-made climate change is also causing more droughts on top of those that occur naturally: attribution studies trace droughts such as that gripping the Southwest to higher sea-surface temperatures, especially in the Pacific. Those can fluctuate naturally, as they did when they caused the severe droughts of the 1930s and 1950s. But they are also rising due to global warming, causing a complicated cascade of changes in air circulation that shuts down rainfall.

 

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~ by eaesthete on 06/30/08.

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