Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Are Extreme Weather and Global Warming Linked?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Are Extreme Weather and Global Warming Linked?

Article excerpt

The headlines this summer seem ominous:

"Extreme Weather Plagues Globe in 2007".... "Across Globe, Extremes of Heat and Rain".... "Insurers Claim Global Warming Makes Some Regions Too Hot to Handle".... "Floating Arctic ice shrinking at record rate".... "The World Meteorological Organization reports on extreme weather and climate events."

But is global warming to blame? Maybe. Maybe not.

In any case, reports the World Meteorological Organization, "Weather and climate are marked by record extremes in many regions across the world since January 2007.""In January and April 2007 it is likely that global land surface temperatures ranked warmest since records began in 1880.... [It is] very likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent."

"The agency found that climate warming was unequivocal and most likely 'due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels'," reports CNN.

Among the evidence cited by the UN's meteorological agency, according to CNN:"Four monsoon depressions, double the normal number, caused heavy flooding in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.... England and Wales have experienced their wettest May-to-July period since record-keeping started in 1766.... Late last month in Sudan, floods and heavy rain caused 23,000 mud brick homes to collapse, killing at least 62 people...."

Meanwhile, reports the BBC, "Arctic sea ice is expected to retreat to a record low by the end of this summer."

Citing measurements from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the BBC reports that this summer is likely to end with the lowest ice cover on record."If you look at data for the first week in August, we are way below what we saw in 2005," explained Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist at the NSIDC. "So unless something really changes, for example the Arctic suddenly becomes a lot colder, it is going to be hard not to beat the previous record."

But as Agence France-Presse reports, one summer of bumptious weather does not confirm global warming. "...establishing a link between climate change and extreme weather is a controversial matter. …

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