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More extreme weather coming thanks to global warming: says extensively reviewed scientific report

Jake Schmidt

Posted November 1, 2011 in Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

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A near final draft report of a peer-reviewed, extensively evaluated, and global scientific report says that more extreme weather is coming thanks to global warming.  According to the Associated Press, the report concludes that: “freakish weather disasters... are striking more often.  And global warming is likely to spawn more similar weather extremes at a huge cost…”   

The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a special report on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation”.  It will consist of an extensive survey of scientific and technical data available through 2010.  The final report will have been reviewed by hundreds of scientists from around the world and agreed by all 194 countries.

This report comes on the heels of a major analysis funded in-part by climate skeptics which conclusively found that the Earth had warmed significantly since the 1950s.  The study also found that the temperature rise has accelerated since 1970 (see image).

While the final “summary for policymakers” from the IPCC report will be released on November 18th (with the full technical chapters released soon thereafter), news outlets are reporting that the report states that:

  • “scientists are ‘virtually certain’ – 99 percent – that the world will have more extreme spells of heat and fewer of cold” (AP);
  • “peak temperatures are "likely" (66% - 100% certainty) to increase - compared to the late 20th century - up to 3°C by 2050, and 5°C by 2100” (AFP);
  •  “it is "very likely" (90 %- 100% certainty) that the length, frequency and/or intensity of warm spells, including heat waves, will continue to increase over most land areas” (AFP);
  • “heavy rain and snowfall is likely to increase over the next century over many regions, especially in the tropics and at high latitudes” (AFP);
  • “by the end of the century, the intense, single-day, heavy rainstorms that now typically happen only once every 20 years are likely to happen about twice a decade, the report says” (AP); and
  • “droughts will likely intensify in other areas, notably the Mediterranean region, central Europe, North America, north-eastern Brazil and southern Africa” (AFP).

These are troubling findings which must be a further wake-up call that now is the time to act.  Unfortunately, global warming pollution throughout the world is still rising.  But we have a choice.  We can continue to use dirty sources of energy, invest in new sources of carbon pollution, waste energy, and destroy our forests.  Or we can avoid a future of even greater extreme weather events by acting now to reduce the pollution that is causing global warming. 

The choice is obvious.

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Image: Berkley Earth Surface Temperature.

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