Human Activity ==> Global Warming ==> Climate Change

This much-debated sequence of why our earth is warming at an unprecedented rate has been hotly contested because of the complexity of the topic and the lack of hard, quantifiable data.

At last we have two long-term research reports that provide the beginnings of definitive data, and build on previous work on the subject of extreme precipitation events which have been steadily increasing in the last 10 years globally.

The first is a joint research report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Caltech which looked the hypothesis

Flooding at Unprecented Rates

that a warming atmosphere, which holds more moisture, will lead to an increase in severe rainfall events globally  The report is published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . The research and simulation conducted in this report led to a conclusion that extreme rainfall events will increase 6% for every 1.8 degree (F) rise in temperature.  The forecast for temperature increase is 3 – 11 degrees by 2100 according a number of research groups under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change umbrella.

The second report, in the Journal of Nature, examines a particular extreme rainfall event in the United Kingdom in 2000 and whether human induced greenhouse gas accumulation contributed to this event.

The study, led by Oxford University, ran thousands of simulations.  From the report abstract: “We generate several thousand seasonal-forecast-resolution climate model simulations of autumn 2000 weather, both under realistic conditions, and under conditions as they might have been had these greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting large-scale warming never occurred. Results are fed into a precipitation-runoff model that is used to simulate severe daily river runoff events in England and Wales (proxy indicators of flood events). The precise magnitude of the anthropogenic contribution remains uncertain, but in nine out of ten cases our model results indicate that twentieth-century anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions increased the risk of floods occurring in England and Wales in autumn 2000 by more than 20%, and in two out of three cases by more than 90%.”

Don't Let a Few Facts Get in the Way of Your Point of View

With all the junk science being foisted on the electorate, these types of definitive studies go a long way toward disarming the small number of climate deniers who have effectively leveraged the press and new media. (For a great non-partisan organization that seeks to preserve scientific integrity, see Union of Concerned Scientists.)

As an example of “knowledge is power” provided by these studies, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has gone on the offensive, requesting a committee hearing from committee chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to discuss recent major studies linking severe weather events to man-made global warming.  Rep. Upton believes that global warming is not man-made and the science is flawed. He is currently seeking to strip the EPA’s authority (confirmed by the Supreme Court ruling in 2007) to regulate C02 emissions.

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