Is climate change causing more weather extremes?

Earlier this year I had an assignment investigating the links between climate change and weather. In the course of the reporting I talked to a Yale pollster who says last year’s extraordinary weather — dry and drought-like or rainy and flooded  in most places — has done more to convince people that the climate is indeed changing than any number of increasingly urgent reports like this one from the OECD.

For the story, I spoke with climate scientists too, and learned about efforts to better pinpoint when rising global temperatures play a role in a particular extreme of weather. It’s a still evolving area of science. Controversy rages.  Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has perhaps most riled his colleagues — not to mention climate change contrarians and non-believers — by suggesting that today global warming should be considered a factor in all weather.  Not all climate scientists agree — one even called it a “crap idea” in a major UK newspaper! But Trenberth hasn’t backed off. He elaborates on the idea in a new article due out this spring.

You can read all about this (and much more!) in my just published cover story in E Magazine. There’s also a sidebar on the impact to harvests and water supplies if the world remains on its current trajectory toward 10+ degrees Fahrenheit of warming.

If you still have time, check out my piece on Italy’s growing woes with the “ecomafia.”


About greendistrict

I'm Christine MacDonald, a journalist and the author of the book: "Green, Inc., An Environmental Insider Reveals How a Good Cause Has Gone B

Posted on March 25, 2012, in Climate adaptation, Climate Change, Climate Deniers, Climate politics, Environment, Extreme weather, Global Warming, Green Living, sustainability and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Though the percentages may differ from one poll to the next, I feel like most of them are saying the same thing: the vast majority of Americans now acknowledge climate change as a real phenomenon and the majority of them believe it is the result of human activity. The strong deniers are part of an ever constricting minority, but they often also happen to be the ones that can shout at the rain the loudest. Unfortunately, none of these polls also ask whether or not a person is willing to alter their lifestyle in order to address the issue. With all hope we are making progress, not only in base level education, but fostering the realization that addressing a changing climate involves changes made to our societal norms.

    • @T.Caine: Thanks for your comment. It’s true, the polls consistently say two-thirds or so of Americans believe climate change is real and we’re the cause. But there has been little public conversation about how we could downsize our lifestyles to stay within sustainable limits. What would it take for that to change?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: