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U.S. Determines Manmade Climate Change Behind Disasters July 13, 2012
NOAA report cover
NOAA report examines climate change's role in last year's disasters, ranging from tornadoes to heat and drought.
The U.S. government has for the first time concluded that manmade climate change is likely connected to a rash of recent extreme weather events across the country.

One of the more economically damaging shifts has been that droughts in Texas are now “roughly 20 times more likely” because of greenhouse gas effects on the atmosphere, according to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Researchers analyzed temperatures and dryness associated with Texas droughts for the past 50 years.

Only by factoring in the effects of greenhouse gas warming could the intensity and duration of them be explained, scientists said.

“What we’re seeing, not only in Texas but in other phenomena in other parts of the world, (are episodes) where we can’t explain these events by natural variability alone. They’re just too rare, too uncommon,” NOAA climate office head Tom Karl told reporters.

Karl added that the normal fluctuations between El Niño and La Niña events in the Pacific are becoming amplified due to climate change, causing environmental disasters to wreak havoc on a far greater scale.

Graphic: Earthweek