Fresh Loaf quotes an article from The Economist about our drought crisis, which suggests that Al Gore’s global warming might be to blame for recent EXTREME weather. I did a little rummaging to see if experts support this theory.
NASA seems to agree.
“Continued global warming could have many damaging effects. It might harm plants and animals that live in the sea. It could also force animals and plants on land to move to new habitats. Weather patterns could change, causing flooding, drought, and an increase in damaging storms. Global warming could melt enough polar ice to raise the sea level. In certain parts of the world, human disease could spread, and crop yields could decline.”
So do environmental groups like the NDRC.
“Warmer temperatures could also increase the probability of drought. Greater evaporation, particularly during the summer and fall, could exacerbate drought conditions and increase the risk of wildfires.”
NOAA is a bit more reserved, but admits that extreme conditions are more prevalent in recent years.
“On a global scale there is little evidence of sustained trends in climate variability or extremes. This perhaps reflects inadequate data and a dearth of analyses. However, on regional scales, there is clear evidence of changes in variability or extremes.
In areas where a drought or excessive wetness usually accompanies an El Niño [does this also apply to La Nina?], these dry or wet spells have been more intense in recent years. Other than these areas, little evidence is available of changes in drought frequency or intensity.”
So, each one of these sources agrees that in an instance of global warming, drought would be one of many extreme weather symptoms attributed to it. Unfortunately, this acknowledgment does little to quell the never-ending debate over global warming’s existence.
Some will write off this drought as another isolated event that can’t be attributed to a broader pattern, while others will eagerly add it to the list of “recent evidence” that already includes the recent torrential rains in the Northeast and the 2005 Hurricane season. Though films like An Inconvenient Truth and comments from the G8 summit have recently had some impact on influencing public opinion on the subject, it is the “consequences” of these extreme conditions that are really beginning to change people’s minds.