Unsettled Science On Stormy Link
Linking extreme weather to global warming scientifically, whether it is a particularly vicious hurricane in the Caribbean or a drought in the Horn of Africa, has been considered nigh on impossible. Until now.
Kevin Trenberth of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado is one of several climate scientists who believes it is time to look again at extreme storms, floods and droughts to see if a change signal can be detected.
He believes, for instance, that Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, was made much deadlier by the extra heat of the ocean and added moisture in the air.
"Instead of the observed 12 inches of rain they had in New Orleans [due to Katrina] they would have had 11 inches, but frequently these days the little bit extra is the straw that breaks the camel's back, it's that little bit extra that breaks the levy," Dr Trenberth said.
This type of thinking will infuriate the climate doubters who dismiss any link of an extreme storm, flood or drought with climate change. But there is little doubt some climate scientists now want to go on the offensive, believing global warming really is beginning to have an impact on people's lives.
Linking extreme weather with climate change is now to be investigated scientifically
Fair enough, Kev wants to look for a climate change signal in extreme weather events, not doubt that is a nice juicy research project but one that needs to be done. Just shows the science isn't settled, though from the headlines and quotes it seems that the researchers have a fairly clear idea what their research will prove.