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'Weird' Weather Is the New Normal May 27, 2011
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The average annual losses from natural disasters have skyrocketed from $25 billion in the 1980s to around $130 billion in the first decade of the 21st century.
Dramatic swings between very wet, very dry and catastrophically stormy weather are likely to be the norm from now on, according to scientists who point to an overall warmer global climate as the source of the new meteorological reality.

“It's a new normal, and I really do think that global weirding is the best way to describe what we're seeing,” Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe told reporters.

While it’s impossible to point to climate change as the cause of any single event, such as the devastating Joplin, Mo., tornado on May 22, Hayhoe says the pervasive background of a warmer global climate now has an impact on every storm, heat wave and wintry chill.

She and other scientists joined business leaders in a teleconference held by the Union of Concerned Scientists to highlight the mounting toll from manmade climate change.

The increasing ferocity of storms is putting a financial strain on the global risk industry, prompting some insurers to now advocate a more rapid shift to renewable energy and away from climate altering carbon-based fuels.

Photo: FEMA