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2010 Summer is Preview of Future Climate Destruction

Video Depicts Extreme Weather Typical of Climate Change Expectations

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By: The Project on Climate Science

Sept. 21, 2010 - Summer 2010 has provided vivid and staggering illustrations of the extreme weather events and dramatic impacts on people’s lives we can expect in the 21st century as global warming continues unabated. The extreme weather fits a pattern long expected by climate scientists as a consequence of climate change and are summarized in a recently released report of temperature data and video of world climate events from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Global warming is dangerously and permanently disrupting our climate. Because the atmosphere can hold more moisture as it warms, there is more rapid evaporation when it is dry and more intense rainfall when it is wet. The result is an increase in severe droughts and floods. As we have seen this year in Russia, Pakistan, China, and the United States, the results can be tragic.

Monsoon-induced floods in Pakistan displaced more than 6 million people and destroyed one million homes. In Russia, the worst heat and drought on record led to the loss of one-third of the wheat crop while rampant wild fires that consumed whole villages. China was besieged by extreme rains leading to devastating mudslides while floods swept through Iowa and Tennessee killing 54 amidst searing, record-setting heat in other parts of the country.

Ten states experienced record-warm summers: Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey each had their warmest year-to-date (January-August) period. As a result, U.S. temperature-related energy demand for Summer 2010 was the highest ever putting more pressure on the nation’s energy supply.

“Fall may be here but we should not forget the Summer of 2010 as a harbinger of things to come,” said Dan Lashof, NRDC’s climate center director. “And this should come as no surprise to anyone because scientists have been warning us for years to expect this kind of climate destruction as a result of carbon pollution.”

Lashof pointed to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC published in 2007 which said that “…the type, frequency and intensity of extreme events are expected to change as Earth’s climate changes, and these changes could occur even with relatively small mean climate changes. Changes in some types of extreme events have already been observed, for example, increases in the frequency and intensity of heat waves and heavy precipitation events.”

Of particular interest: average nighttime low temperatures were the hottest ever recorded at nearly one in four of the national weather stations according to the NRDC report. Hot, stagnant nights can prove even more harmful than daytime highs because they are more sensitive to the buildup of heat-trapping pollution in the atmosphere than daytime temperatures and vulnerable populations (particularly the very young and the elderly) are unable to cool down and get relief from the stress of the daytime heat.

But there’s no taking solace in the end of summer. “Even as we take a brief look back at the summer, we’re in the midst of a record-shattering hurricane season,” added Lashof. “It’s a real warning, climate change will have no mercy.”

NRDC Report: The Worst Summer Ever?
'Dark Side of Climate Change' Seen in Record Setting Night-time Temperatures:
http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/hottestsummer/

Video: This Is What Global Warming Looks Like
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pG41xDxrzI8

Website: www.projectonclimatescience.org

Sept. 21, 2010 - Summer 2010 has provided vivid and staggering illustrations of the extreme weather events and dramatic impacts on people’s lives we can expect in the 21st century as global warming continues unabated. The extreme weather fits a pattern long expected by climate scientists as a consequence of climate change and are summarized in a recently released report of temperature data and video of world climate events from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Global warming is dangerously and permanently disrupting our climate. Because the atmosphere can hold more moisture as it warms, there is more rapid evaporation when it is dry and more intense rainfall when it is wet. The result is an increase in severe droughts and floods. As we have seen this year in Russia, Pakistan, China, and the United States, the results can be tragic.

Monsoon-induced floods in Pakistan displaced more than 6 million people and destroyed one million homes. In Russia, the worst heat and drought on record led to the loss of one-third of the wheat crop while rampant wild fires that consumed whole villages. China was besieged by extreme rains leading to devastating mudslides while floods swept through Iowa and Tennessee killing 54 amidst searing, record-setting heat in other parts of the country.

Ten states experienced record-warm summers: Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey each had their warmest year-to-date (January-August) period. As a result, U.S. temperature-related energy demand for Summer 2010 was the highest ever putting more pressure on the nation’s energy supply.

“Fall may be here but we should not forget the Summer of 2010 as a harbinger of things to come,” said Dan Lashof, NRDC’s climate center director. “And this should come as no surprise to anyone because scientists have been warning us for years to expect this kind of climate destruction as a result of carbon pollution.”

Lashof pointed to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC published in 2007 which said that “…the type, frequency and intensity of extreme events are expected to change as Earth’s climate changes, and these changes could occur even with relatively small mean climate changes. Changes in some types of extreme events have already been observed, for example, increases in the frequency and intensity of heat waves and heavy precipitation events.”

Of particular interest: average nighttime low temperatures were the hottest ever recorded at nearly one in four of the national weather stations according to the NRDC report. Hot, stagnant nights can prove even more harmful than daytime highs because they are more sensitive to the buildup of heat-trapping pollution in the atmosphere than daytime temperatures and vulnerable populations (particularly the very young and the elderly) are unable to cool down and get relief from the stress of the daytime heat.

But there’s no taking solace in the end of summer. “Even as we take a brief look back at the summer, we’re in the midst of a record-shattering hurricane season,” added Lashof. “It’s a real warning, climate change will have no mercy.”

NRDC Report: The Worst Summer Ever?
'Dark Side of Climate Change' Seen in Record Setting Night-time Temperatures:
http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/hottestsummer/

Video: This Is What Global Warming Looks Like
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pG41xDxrzI8

Website: www.projectonclimatescience.org

 

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