Puzzled by 'global weirding'? Watch these videos

  • 19 Apr 2012, 13:21
  • Verity Payne

It has been widely reported that the US and UK have both experienced some unusual weather over the last couple of years. This has included a couple of remarkably cold and snowy winters, last year's deadly spate of record-breaking US tornados, and both the US and UK experiencing record-breaking March temperatures. It's worth noting however that globally, last year was the 16th warmest on record, which is nothing special in the context of the last decade.

It's perhaps no wonder that over two-thirds of Americans reckon global warming made recent extreme weather events worse, and most say they have experienced an extreme weather event in the last year, according to a new poll.

But while the public seem relatively convinced that this 'global weirding' (as it has become known in some circles) is related to global warming, the scientists researching the subject take a decidedly more nuanced stance.  As the IPCC's special report into extreme weather puts it, "[a]ttribution of single extreme events to anthropogenic climate change is challenging."  Incidentally, the warm US spring has already been labelled ' more freak occurrence than global warming' by climatologist Marty Hoerling.

With this discussion going on, it seems like a good time to post these two informative videos from Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media and Peter Sinclair of Climate Crocks.

The first video discusses how climate change might impact tornados. In short, as we have discussed in this blog, tornado experts are just not yet sure whether tornados are likely to increase as the world warms. The second video focuses on the cold US and UK winters, and how that might be related to warming in the Arctic and the shifting jet stream, as we have discussed here.


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