Extreme Events – we are responsible!

Extreme precipitation events ARE GETTING WORSE as a result of human green house gas emissions. Yes, we are partly to blame for the flooding say 2 new papers in Nature. This is now! Not some ‘future time’ when climate change might start having effects. There is 4% more moisture in the atmosphere today than in mid last century.


[read the bit that refers to Australia’s floods]

The heavy snow of the last 2 northern winters (which fits the increased precipitation prediction) has accompanied record warm weather just to the north of the snow-fall effected areas (e.g. in Greenland and the Arctic). Formation of ice in Hudson Bay and south of Baffin Island this year was delayed by months over the normal winter sea ice records due to warm temperatures and warmer than normal sea water. Greenland is shedding 300 km3 per year. Only 10 years ago this was less than 60 km3.

From the list of papers at the end of the article, it appears that the rate of increase in atmospheric moisture is around 7% per deg C. It also appears that the amount of precipitation is increasing proportionally to the amount of moisture and thus to the increase in temperature. Thus the increase in average temperature is proportional to the increase in rainfall.

Does someone in Ipswitch want to take Senator Inhofe to court over his actions to delay global cuts to GHG emissions?

Synopsis of one of the papers reads… 

Gallant and Karoly (2010): A Combined Climate Extremes Index for the Australian Region (J. Climate)
“Over the whole country, the results show an increase in the extent of hot and wet extremes and a decrease in the extent of cold and dry extremes annually and during all seasons from 1911 to 2008 at a rate of between 1% and 2% decade. These trends mostly stem from changes in tropical regions during summer and spring. There are relationships between the extent of extreme maximum temperatures, precipitation, and soil moisture on interannual and decadal time scales that are similar to the relationships exhibited by variations of the means. However, the trends from 1911 to 2008 and from 1957 to 2008 are not consistent with these relationships, providing evidence that the processes causing the interannual variations and those causing the longer-term trends are different.”

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