The worst drought in half a century has plagued two-thirds of the nation, devastating farms and stoking wildfires that scorched almost 9 million acres this year. The US also saw record-breaking heat, and floods. Such extreme weather make many people reconsider the connection between the weather and the changing climate. That now includes a handful of prominent climate scientists, reports Monte Morin at the LA Times. They argue that enough episodes of drought and intense heat have occurred in the last decade to establish a statistical pattern of extreme weather due to global warming. In a published study, NASA climatologist James Hansen and others wrote “We can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies … were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.” Caltech climatologist John Seinfeld notes that around the world, “the incidence of drought is consistent with what the climate models are predicting. It certainly doesn’t appear to be out of line to conclude that this last summer could be statistically attributed to global warming.” Increasingly, the public agrees.
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