Heat waves, floods and storms: Scientists warn – prepare for extreme weather

By MSNBC

WASHINGTON — Top international climate scientists and disaster experts meeting in Africa have a sharp message for the world’s political leaders: Get ready for more dangerous and unpredictable weather caused by global warming.

They’re calling for preparations that they say will save lives and money.

The experts fear that without preparedness, crazy weather extremes may overwhelm some locations, making them uninhabitable.

The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a new special report on global warming and extreme weather Friday after meeting in Uganda.

This is the first time the group of scientists has focused on the dangers of extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods, droughts and storms.

Those are more dangerous than gradual increases in the world’s average temperature.

The Washington Post reported that the report said there was at least a 66 percent chance that climate extremes had been changed because of carbon emissions produced by fossil fuels and other human activity.

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“Economic losses from weather- and climate-related disasters are increasing,” the report said, according to the Post.

“The fact is, a small change in average temperature can have a big impact on extremes,” Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and one of the report’s reviewers, told the paper in an interview. “It’s pretty straightforward: As average temperatures go up, it’s fairly obvious that heat extremes go up and [the number of] low extremes go down.”

In August, the U.S. government said the United States had already tied its yearly record for the number of weather disasters with an economic loss of $1 billion or more .

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National Weather Service Director Jack Hayes said at the time that, “I don’t think it takes a wizard to predict 2011 is likely to go down as one of the more extreme years for weather in history.”

A report by the National Climatic Data Center listed the storms and other weather-related events that had caused more than $1 billion in damage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. (Full Story)


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