Climate Change is Happening and It’s Affecting Severe Weather
Dr. Donald J. Wuebbles
The Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Sciences
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana
The science is clear and convincing that climate change is happening, happening rapidly, and happening primarily because of human activities. Every weather event that happens nowadays takes place in the context of the changes in the background climate system. Therefore it is not surprising that are significant trends occurring in some types of severe events. In general, the temperatures are higher, the sea level is higher, and there is more water vapor in the atmosphere, which energizes storms. The drying of the subtropics and wetter conditions at more northern latitudes means that both droughts and floods are likely to be increasing issues in various parts of the U.S. As one of the leaders of the U.S. National Climate Assessment being conducted for Congress under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990, I will summarize the current understanding of the science of climate change, with a special emphasis on severe weather and on some of the issues facing the Midwest.