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The Weather IS Becoming More Extreme

Climate Science Watch has a devastating and detailed debunking of Richard Lindzen’s April 16 op-ed in Newsweek, “Why So Gloomy?”

Let me expand on one point. Lindzen writes, “There is no evidence, for instance, that extreme weather events are increasing in any systematic way.” That is just plain wrong.

As far back as 1995, analysis by the National Climatic Data Center showed that over the course of the 20th century, the United States had suffered a statistically significant increase in a variety of extreme weather events, the very ones you would expect from global warming, such as more — and more intense — precipitation. That analysis concluded the chances were only “5 to 10 percent” this increase was due to factors other than global warming, such as “natural climate variability.”

And since 1995, the climate has gotten much more extreme. For instance, a 2004 analysis by the Center found an increase during the 20th century of “precipitation, temperature, streamflow, heavy and very heavy precipitation and high streamflow in the East.” They found a 14 percent increase in “heavy rain events” of greater than 2 inches in one day, and a 20 percent increase in “very heavy rain events”-best described as deluges-greater than 4 inches in one day.These extreme downpours are precisely what is predicted by global warming scientists and models.

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The deluge that socked the mid-Atlantic and Northeast the last week of June 2006 fits this global-warming-type drought. Washington, DC, for instance, was drenched with over seven inches of rain in one 24-hour period. And this deluge happened at the same time that 45 percent of the continental United States as a whole was experiencing moderate to extreme drought.

For more on the global warming/extreme weather connection, read Chapter Two of Hell and High Water.