The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions

Millions of people around the world are suffering the effects of extreme weather events - matching up to predictions long made by climate scientists of more frequent and more intense weather events due to global warming.

Millions of people around the world are suffering the effects of extreme weather events – matching up to predictions long made by climate scientists of more frequent and more intense weather events due to global warming.

Whilst a single weather event cannot be attributed to climate change, a number of scientists are highlighting that current experiences fit with the climate trends they have been predicting. This is not evident in most mainstream media reporting – so here I examine what has been reported and how this matches what scientists expected.

In Greenland, an iceberg three times the size of Manhattan has broken off the Petermann Glacier. Professor Jason Box of The Ohio State University wrote on his blog:

“This is the largest single area loss observed for Greenland. Petermann is one of a few remaining floating glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere and among the largest…

While it is unreasonable to pin an individual cracking event of a glacier on global warming, even if enormous, the retreat of Petermann glacier is most certainly part of a pattern of global warming.”

The same story was reported by the Associated Press:

“In the Arctic Ocean itself, the summer melt of the vast ice cap has reached unprecedented proportions. Satellite data show the ocean area covered by ice last month was the second-lowest ever recorded for July.”

The floods that hit Pakistan have affected around a fifth of the country’s land mass. Pakistan’s Prime Minister says 20 million people have been made homeless and Maurizio Giuliano, UN humanitarian operations spokesman told the Guardian that at least 36,000 people are believed to have potentially fatal acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) were being treated for cholera.

Roads, irrigation canals and electricity generating stations have been destroyed. The impact on the country’s agriculture is expected to cause food shortages and price spikes. The UN has said the final toll could exceed the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in 2007 that rains have grown heavier for 40 years over north Pakistan and predicted greater flooding this century in south Asia’s monsoon region.

The report also predicted a doubling of disastrous droughts in Russia this century and cited studies foreseeing catastrophic fires during dry years. It also said Russia would suffer large crop losses. Russia is experiencing its gravest heat wave for over a millennium, according to Russia’s Met Office. Wired Magazine recently reported that:

“The Russian heat wave has persisted since late June, with daytime temperatures at least 12 Fahrenheit degrees above normal — and often much more — for over a month. In Moscow alone, an estimated 300 people a day have died. The temperatures in Russia threaten wheat harvests and have sent global prices rising in a manner reminiscent of the lead-up to 2008’s global food riots.

Wildfires covering some 672 sq miles prompting Putin to introduce an export ban on grain. This in turn has triggered a spike in food prices. The knock-on effect of this is already evident in Indonesia, where the cost of flour has already risen by 10%.

Reacting to the floods in Pakistan, and to the heat in Russia, Omar Baddour, chief of climate data management applications at World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), told Reuters:

“We will always have climate extremes. But it looks like climate change is exacerbating the intensity of the extremes”.

The Jakarta Globe reports that Indonesia is experiencing its most extreme weather events in recorded history with high waves, high winds and excessive rainfall. Indonesian coral reefs have also experienced severe damage – so-called “bleaching” – with reports of around 80% of species there dying and this has been linked to climate change. A spokesman for the country’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said: “The combination of global warming and the La Nina phenomenon makes everything exceed normalcy.”

The United States too are experiencing tornadoes, floods, heat waves and other out of the ordinary extreme weather events. In May of this year, Tennessee experienced its worst rain deluge for more than 1000 years. Our sister site in the US, ThinkProgress, has also mapped some of the other weather events around America this summer and how they match up to the predictions of the 2009 U.S. Global Change Research Program report.

In China, scores of people have been left dead by mudslides triggered by heavy rainfalls. The IPCC’s report predicted more frequent flooding in this century, and said that rains have increased in northwest China by up to 33 percent since 1961.

In the southern hemisphere, Australia has experienced its hottest decade on record with a recent ‘Big Dry’ of droughts, fires and dust storms.  The Independent spoke of Australia’s ‘global warming ground zero’:

“In the Riverland, one of the nation’s major horticulture areas, dying vines and parched lemon trees attest to critical water shortages. Farmers have had their water allocations slashed during the recent crippling drought; 200 sold up, and many of those who hung on are struggling.”

Elsewhere, Oxfam says that Niger is currently being hit by a “double disaster” of heavy rains and flooding – compounding food shortages caused by a prolonged drought. The Niger River has reached its highest level for more than 80 years and left nearly 70,000 people homeless.

There are a number of instances when scientists have predicted extreme weather events; sometimes when events have taken place and yet received little or no mainstream media attention.

31 Responses to “The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions”

  1. LadyRoisin

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  2. Hitchin England

    The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists climate predictions: http://bit.ly/cRCD1O by @jossgarman via @leftfootfwd

  3. Claire French

    RT @leftfootfwd: The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions: http://bit.ly/cRCD1O by @jossgarman

  4. Shamik Das

    The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions: http://bit.ly/cRCD1O reports @jossgarman @leftfootfwd

  5. Joss Garman

    RT @leftfootfwd: The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions: http://bit.ly/cRCD1O by @jossgarman

  6. Climate Campaign

    RT @leftfootfwd The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions: http://bit.ly/cRCD1O by @jossgarman

  7. Chris Horner

    RT @leftfootfwd: The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions: http://bit.ly/cRCD1O by @jossgarman

  8. Jon

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  9. carboncoach

    RT @leftfootfwd: The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions: http://bit.ly/cRCD1O by @jossgarman

  10. EarthAdapt

    #ClimateChange : The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists' climate … http://bit.ly/bg1BGC ; ) EarthAdapt.com

  11. LadyRoisin

    RT @campaigncc: RT @leftfootfwd The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions: http://bit.ly/cRCD1O by @jossgarman

  12. Oxford Kevin

    RT @leftfootfwd: The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions http://bit.ly/cRCD1O

  13. Heather D

    RT @leftfootfwd: The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions: http://bit.ly/cRCD1O by @jossgarman

  14. Robert

    This week it’s rained, the kids holiday, we have not had a day fit enough to go to the beach, next week the forecast is no higher the 17c they decided we are going for an early Autumn, and then a crazy moron on TV said this year has beaten all records as the hottest year ever, where! where is this record broken, it’s not in bloody Wales thats for sure.

  15. Duncan Keeling

    According to the Australian right-wing, global warming is a fictional left-wing conspiracy http://tiny.cc/g9m0s

  16. Billy Blofeld

    Joss,

    Where to begin with this reactionary toss……. big icebergs have broken off in the past, floods have been happening for years in that region and there are always droughts….

    …. now – instead of fear mongering as usual – why don’t you tell us the answer to these two questions:

    1. How much global warming is attributed to human activity?

    2. What is your plan to save the climate, how long will it take and how much will it cost?

  17. Oxford Kevin

    As far as the climate scientists know we should be cooling slowly if it wasn’t for AGW so on that basis I’d guess the warming we are seeing is solely due to human activity, but that is just my opinion. What have the solutions to climate change and how much they will cost got to do with climate scientists making predictions about extreme weather and then having them coming true?

    Kevin

  18. mark grip

    The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists' climate …: Millions of people around the world are su… http://bit.ly/cVJlh4

  19. HotInHur

    The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists' climate … http://bit.ly/b8mFM8

  20. Neil Hughes

    It's sad that an objective issue like climate change is a left-right battle, & to believe in facts is a lefty position http://bit.ly/cWltHz

  21. Billy Blofeld

    @Oxford Kevin

    Numbers please – we need to know how much is natural warming and how much is caused by man. Before we do anything we need to know how big the problem is.

    If we don’t know what we can do about climate change and by how much we can impact climate change and how much it will cost, then we are just listening to a climate witch doctor.

    Joss has made a career out of not answering the question.

  22. harry

    billy – the truth is nobody knows. the earth has warmed slightly since measurements began. it has actually cooled since the holocene optimum. there are large natural variations on top of which is the change due to co2. but we dont know how much or even if the world would be warming or cooling if co2 levels were stable. anybody says they do is mistaken. the science – as Phil Jones states – is far from settled

  23. Oxford Kevin

    As I said Billy the climate scientists calculate that we should be cooling now due to natural forcings so from my understanding it means that the warming we are seeing is due to our emissions of GHGs.

    I think it would therefore be more appropriate to talk about natural cooling.

    Kevin

  24. Billy Blofeld

    @Harry – I agree with you – when you say science isn’t settled and there are large natural variations.

    @Oxford Kevin – we should be cooling? Evidence? Well we have ceased warming for the last decade anyway.

    However, I mainly object to the hysteria and political-eco-whipping Joss Garman continually spouts. He refuses to discuss the science and relies on brain washing for his political ends.

  25. Oxford Kevin

    Well why should we be warming if it wasn’t for AGW? What is your evidence that we would be warming if it wasn’t for AGW?

    Piers Corbyn doesn’t seem to think so as he keeps predicting cooling.

    You can see both solar variation and temperature anomaly plotted against each other here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming-basic.htm

  26. Rachel Hardy

    The future, now: Extreme weather forecasts fit scientists’ climate predictions | Left Foot Forward http://goo.gl/ov2N

  27. Billy Blofeld

    @Oxford Kevin

    My laptop has a security flid-out when I try and look at that link.

    However, if cooling is predicted……. then…. I see even less logic behind the eco-warriors hysterical mantras.

  28. Oxford Kevin

    natural cooling. Completely overwhelmed by AGW.

  29. Oxfam South West

    Millions of people around the world are suffering the effects of extreme weather events – matching up to predictions http://t.co/3G0VW29m

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