Friday, April 19, 2013

Chicago's Extreme Weather - Are Rainstorms Being Amplified By Increased CO2 in the Atmosphere?

The Chicago area suffered record flooding the other day. While Chicago's weather is famously variable, the fact that 3 of the city's 8 heaviest recorded rainstorms have occurred within the last 6 years certainly raises suspicion that something is amiss. While this correlation between more frequent heavy rainfall and increased CO2 in the atmosphere could certainly just be a due to the random variability of weather, it is cause for concern.

Over at Weather Underground, meteorologist  Dr.Jeff Masters goes out on a limb and declares that
"The new normal in the coming decades is going to be more and more extreme flood-drought-flood cycles like we are seeing now in the Midwest, and this sort of weather whiplash is going to be an increasingly severe pain in the neck for society."
Given the cold spring we've had in the Midwest, it seems hard to accept the global warming could be occurring. However, confusing local weather with global climate change would be a mistake. There are lots of places around the globe which have experienced warmer than usual temperatures in 2013, including the Southwestern U.S., the Arctic and Australia.

The Chicago area  flooding led to my drive to work being greatly extended. As I zigged and zagged due to numerous closed roads, viewing the massive number of other cars on the road  made me pause and think about all the pollution that is being spewed into the atmosphere just from car exhaust. Regardless of how skeptical one is of about whether there is causation between higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and the unusually heavy rainfalls, this does not seem to be a good time to be buying a home on a flood plain.

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