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REPORT: Extreme Weather Linked to Climate Change

09 Sep 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Climate Change

Weather extremes are the new norm thanks to climate change a report by the Climate Communications Group released Thursday concluded.

Rising global temperatures, due to greenhouse gas emissions have created a climate in which extreme weather events such as flooding, drought, and tornadoes are not only more likely to occur, but on a larger, more devastating scale than ever before.

The 2003 heat wave that killed tens of thousands of people across Europe is an example of this, the report contends. Based on analysis of temperature data between 1864 – 2002, the odds of such a heat wave occurring are about 1 in 10 million—yet when factoring in the 2° F rise in temperature, such an event becomes increasingly likely.

Greenhouse gases are the steroids of weather," says climate projection expert Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "Small increases in temperature set the stage for record breaking extreme temperature events."

The report, which confirms early assessments made by  scientists that the warming of the earth holds serious consequences for weather, comes as 2011 breaks a 2008 record in extreme weather events—Hurricane Irene is the tenth weather event this year to cause over a billion dollars in damage.

View the report.

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