Yeah, global warming deniers, I know what you're going to say. "Any single weather event can't be conclusively tied to climate change."
But we're talking odds here, likelihoods. That's how science works. Nothing is completely certain. Even the best documented law of nature could be falsified, given certain evidence.
Yet when freakishly powerful storms and unusually dry/hot summers and other historically improbable weather events keep coming along, one after the other, way more frequently than has happened in decades or centuries or even thousands of years...
This should make us think: global warming.
Coincidentally, as Climate Progress reported last week, Munich Re, a top reinsurer, released a major new study that for the first time, links the rapid rise in North American extreme weather catastrophes to manmade climate change:
“Climate-driven changes are already evident over the last few decades for severe thunderstorms, for heavy precipitation and flash flooding, for hurricane activity, and for heatwave, drought and wild-fire dynamics in parts of North America.”
Global climate change has contributed to the higher sea surface and ocean temperatures, and a warmer and moister atmosphere, and its effects are in the range of 5 to 10%. Natural variability and weather has provided the perhaps optimal conditions of a hurricane running into extra-tropical conditions to make for a huge intense storm, enhanced by global warming influences.
The storm comes at a unique time politically. In August, the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida was disrupted by strong rain and flooding caused by Hurricane Isaac. Two days later in his acceptance speech, Mitt Romney mocked President Obama’s pledge to deal with climate change and “slow the rise of the oceans” — causing uproarious laughter among delegates. And for the first time since 1988, the presidential candidates did not talk about climate change during debates — even as data shows that the U.S. is experiencing the most extreme weather ever recorded.
“The climate has shifted to a new state capable of delivering rare and unprecedented weather events,” explained meteorologist Jeff Masters earlier this year.
So with the image of horrific storm surge flooding along the East Coast fresh in our minds, let's remember how Mitt Romney mocked the prospect of stopping the rise of the Earth's oceans.
Bill Clinton does it in a memorable minute.
I was actually listening closely to what the candidates said in these debates. In the first debate [actually, Romney's convention speech], the triumph of the moderate Mitt Romney. You remember what he did? He ridiculed the president. Ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming in economically beneficial ways. He said, ‘Oh, you’re going to turn back the seas.’ In my part of America, we would like it if someone could’ve done that yesterday. All up and down the East Coast, there are mayors, many of them Republicans, who are being told, ‘You’ve got to move these houses back away from the ocean. You’ve got to lift them up. Climate change is going to raise the water levels on a permanent basis. If you want your town insured, you have to do this.’ In the real world, Barack Obama’s policies work better.