29 Apr '11, 6pm
Is extreme weather the new norm?
It is difficult, of course, to link or "attribute" individual extreme weather events in a single year to global warming. Climate factors -- including human influences -- shape weather patterns. According to Munich Re, one of the world's largest reinsurers, "the only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change." And as Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research , explained at the American Meteorological Society's January 2011 meeting, "Given that global warming is unequivocal, the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of ‘of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming.'"