EarthTalk® is a weekly environmental column made available to our readers from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine
Dear EarthTalk: What is the scientific consensus on all the extreme weather we’ve been having—from monster tornadoes to massive floods and wildfires? Is there a clear connection to climate change? And if so what are we doing to be prepared? - Jason Devine, Summit, PA
Extreme weather does not prove the existence of global warming, but climate change is likely to exaggerate it—by messing with ocean currents, providing extra heat to forming tornadoes, bolstering heat waves, lengthening droughts and causing more precipitation and flooding.
“A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events,” reports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an independent group of leading climate scientists convened by the United Nations to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.