The bizarre weather of early summer in the US – from heatwave, wildfires, drought to freak storms – is just a sampling of what is to come for 2012 and a window to the future under climate change, scientists have said.
Scientists are wary of linking specific weather events to climate change, and this year’s punishing heat and deadly thunder storms have been confined to the Americas. Europe, Asia and Africa haven’t experienced severe weather this year – though they have in past years.
But the run of extreme weather offers real-time proof of the consequences of climate change, said Kevin Trenberth, who heads climate research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado – itself the scene of devastating wildfires.
“We are certainly seeing climate change in action,” he said. “This year has been exceptionally unusual throughout the United States.”
Jeff Masters director of meteorology at the Weather Underground website, told Democracy Now: “What we’re seeing now is the future. We’re going to be seeing a lot more weather like this, a lot more impacts like we’re seeing from this series of heat waves, fires and storms.”
He added: “This is just the beginning.”
The prime exhibit for the bizarre turn of weather is the current heat wave.