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Opinion: Climate Change Making Natural Weather More Intense, Frequent

May 15, 2019 Environment, Featured No Comments

The St. Louis region has experienced flooding events since its founding, so it’s easy to think current flooding is usual Spring flooding.

The St. Louis riverfront the afternoon of May 5, 2019

It’s not.

The impact of climate change on snowfall in the Midwest and Plains is uncertain, but projections suggest that heavy snow events will become more likely in the northern Great Plains.

David Robinson, a professor at Rutgers University who manages the Global Snow Lab, said that in some areas where climate change causes winter temperatures to warm above freezing more often, more winter precipitation may fall as rain. But other areas may experience more snow.

“As the cold temperatures get closer to freezing, there’s more moisture being held by the atmosphere,” he said. “So ironically, there are some areas that should warm up and get snowier because the temperatures will still be below freezing.” (Yale Climate Connections)

Hers’s another way to look at the connection:

Climate scientists often use a baseball analogy to explain the connection between climate change and extreme weather.

Martha Shulski, Nebraska’s state climatologist, describes the analogy this way:

Say you’ve got a home run hitter and you put him on steroids. He still hits home runs, but now he’s hitting the balls farther and getting home runs more frequently.

That’s how climate change influences weather: It can increase the intensity and frequency of extreme events. (Omaha World-Herald)

Let me repeat that last point — extreme events will be more frequent and intense.

Here are the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Our current flooding is normal, has nothing to do with climate change.

  • Strongly agree: 5 [25%]
  • Agree: 2 [10%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [5%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [5%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [10%]
  • Disagree: 3 [15%]
  • Strongly disagree: 5 [25%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [5%]

The following is not safe for work due to f-bombs, but it’s worth watching:

I saw the above as part of an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver  — you can watch the full 20 minutes here (again, NSFW).

— Steve Patterson

 

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