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Weird weather woes

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

As we continue to hear nightmare weather stories about travel chaos in the UK, record cold and snow across Europe, heavy rainstorms and flooding in Atlantic Canada and blinding snowstorms in southern Ontario, I once again wonder how much of this can be attributed to climate change?

Most scientists say that no single weather event can be attributed to climate change but, at the same time, these kinds of extreme weather events are precisely consistent with the scenarios that climate forecasters have long predicted. Even though we tend to associate climate change with global warming, rather than snow and cold, scientific models have long-predicted exactly this kind of variability: more hot and cold extremes, more precipitation in some areas, more drought in others, and so on. So in fact, the recent cold temperatures in Europe and the snowstorms in the UK are exactly consistent with climate change modeling and may even make a stronger case for the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

And as the weather woes worsen, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise. The New York Times published a lengthy article today, which focuses on Charles David Keeling, the first person in the world to develop an accurate technique for measuring carbon dioxide in the air. This article provides an excellent overview of how  the international community’s failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has led us to the point in which we now find ourselves confronting a climate crisis that is becoming more and more serious with each passing year. It is a detailed and sobering exposé, the likes of which would almost certainly never appear in the pages of any of Canada’s major daily newspapers. Highly worth a read.

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