Thursday, January 13, 2011

Climate Change and Weather Disasters

It turns out that 2010 ties 2005 as the hottest year on record (I think records go back for about 111 years).

And now, in just two weeks of year 2011, look at what we have in terms of rainfall:

Terrible floods in Brazil.  Over 400 feared dead  (dateline Jan 13, 2011)

Terrible floods in Australia, over 20,000 homes swamped, dozens dead across the country, with floods in Brisbane, the state of Queensland, and Toowoomba.  (dateline Jan 12, 2011)

Record flooding in Sri Lanka, with 300,000 people fleeing their homes (dateline Jan 13, 2011)

Bad floods in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, with evacuations and some drownings. (dateline Jan 5, 2011).

And of course, California has been having the heaviest winter rains on record (highest December rainfalls ever).

In December, parts of Eastern Europe also had the heaviest rains ever in living memory.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin had 22 inches of snow on December 11th, part of that massive snow storm that hit Minnesota and Wisconsin December 9-11th. A few days later the United Kingdom and Europe were hit by one of their worst winter storms ever. More snow storms actually happen in warmer years.

Okay, so the world is a big place, with thousands of regions and areas, and at any given moment, just by statistical chance, there will be a few places having their wettest or driest, coldest or hottest weather on record, right?  So, are all these extreme weather events just a statistical blip, a random event, or are we seeing something indicating a change in global climate patterns?

Meanwhile, an anti-science conservative has just taken leadership in the House of Representatives.  The Chamber of Commerce, which opposes research into development of renewable energy, has successfully helped elect its friends into office.  Meanwhile, China is about to go far ahead of us in investment in renewable energy.  The Chinese are building entire new cities with an emphasis on getting power from renewable energy. What is America doing?

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