2011-05-21 00:11:14Climate Change Blamed for Record Mississippi Floods
John Hartz
John Hartz
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WASHINGTON, DC, May 20, 2011 (ENS) - Human-induced climate change is contributing to the recent heavy rain and ongoing record flooding along the Mississippi River, and we can expect more extreme weather events in the future, according to scientists and adaptation experts on a teleconference held by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"Climate change is about more than warming. What we're really seeing is global weirding," said climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, associate professor at Texas Tech University. "It is altering the character and conditions of the places we know and love. For many places around the world, what we are likely to see could be feast or famine - more frequency of weather at the extremes, from intense storms to prolonged droughts."

"We can't attribute any one event to climate change," she said, "but we do know that every event that happens is already superimposed on very different background conditions than we had 50 years ago."

Economic losses from natural disasters have soared from a global average of $25 billion annually during the 1980s to $130 billion a year during the decade ending in 2010, said Nikhil da Victoria Lobo, senior client manager in the Global Partnerships team at Swiss Re, an international reinsurance firm.

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