Linking Weather Events and Climate Change

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Linking Weather Events and Climate Change

Whenever an extreme weather disaster strikes, the mainstream media attribute it to global warming. Hurricane Sandy's destruction in October 2012 was the most recent example. NBC News, The New York Times, Huffington Post and others all jumped on the climate change bandwagon, with Bloomberg Businessweek diagnosing the cause of the hurricane thusly: “It's global warming, stupid.”1

To make the connection between natural disasters and climate change, reporters often cite findings of studies issued by organizations such as the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, which is a Federal Advisory Committee appointed by the Secretary of Commerce.

According to the committee's newly released 840-page National Climate Assessment (NCA), climate change is the cause of several types of severe weather events in the United States, including heat waves, droughts, winter storms, floods, downpours, forest fires, and hurricanes—and the report insists it's only going to get worse.2

Climate Change Impacts in the United States

Specifically, according to the NCAreport:

  • Winter storms are more frequent, more intense, and have shifted southward since the 1950s.
  • Heavy downpours are becoming more common, increasing by 71 percent in the Northeast.
  • Killer heat waves, such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and the Midwest in 2012, will become more prevalent across the U.S.
  • Droughts in the Southwest will become worse, and are already to blame for larger and more frequent wildfires.
  • Temperatures will rise in the U.S. another 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit over the next few decades.

All of these disasters are due to rising temperatures, according to the report, which states that the “U.S. average temperature has increased by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895; more than 80 percent of this increase has occurred since 1980. The most recent decade was the nation's hottest on record.”

The report places the blame for global warming on human activity, specifically carbon dioxide emissions. It argues, “The climate change of the past 50 years is due primarily to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels.”

The report then extends this view into the future, offering a simple black-and-white choice: “Beyond the next few decades, the amount of climate change will still largely be determined by choices society makes about emissions...

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