by Janet Ritz
In a report issued by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, a joint effort of more than a dozen government agencies which includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the conclusion is that the extreme weather we've been experiencing will become both more extreme and is due to climate change.
WASHINGTON - Droughts will get drier, storms will get stormier and floods will get deeper with a warming climate across North America, U.S. government experts said in a report billed as the first continental assessment of extreme events.This report has raised questions by those who point to this year's cooler temperatures in many parts of the world. That issue was addressed by the British Met Office's 2008 temperature prediction which cited an increased 2008 La Niña event; a cooling of a Pacific current - a periodic anomaly that was covered in this report: What's with the Weather? The La Niña-Tornado Connection.
Events that have seemed relatively rare will become commonplace, said the latest report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, a joint effort of more than a dozen government agencies.
Specific projections from the Climate Sciences report include:
* Abnormally hot days and nights, along with heat waves, are very likely to become more common.
* Cold nights are very likely to become less common.
* Sea ice extent is expected to continue to decrease and may even disappear in the Arctic Ocean in summer in coming decades.
* Precipitation, on average, is likely to be less frequent but more intense.
* Droughts are likely to become more frequent and severe in some regions.
* Hurricanes will likely have increased precipitation and wind.
* The strongest cold-season storms in the Atlantic and Pacific are likely to produce stronger winds and higher extreme wave heights.
The report, issued by the Department of Commerce in accordance with Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 was produced to be in compliance with that act in conjunction with NOAA:
For purposes of compliance with Section 515, this CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Product is an “interpreted product” as that term is used in NOAA guidelines and is classified as “highly influential.”Translated: The report cannot require regulatory action, though it can (and should) influence it. From the NOAA press release:
The U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research today released a scientific assessment that provides the first comprehensive analysis of observed and projected changes in weather and climate extremes in North America and U.S. territories. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change previously evaluated extreme weather and climate events on a global basis in this same context. However, there has not been a specific assessment across North America prior to this report.That's official. The extreme weather the U.S. has been experiencing is due to climate change and is expected to become more extreme in the future.
Among the major findings reported in this assessment are that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.