APNewsbreak: Panel says wild weather worsens :: WRAL.com
By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON — Freakish weather disasters — from the sudden October snowstorm in the Northeast U.S. to the record floods in Thailand — are striking more often. And global warming is likely to spawn more similar weather extremes at a huge cost, says a draft summary of an international climate report obtained by The Associated Press.
The final draft of the report from a panel of the world's top climate scientists paints a wild future for a world already weary of weather catastrophes costing billions of dollars. The report says costs will rise and perhaps some locations will become "increasingly marginal as places to live."
The report from the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be issued in a few weeks, after a meeting in Uganda. It says there is at least a 2-in-3 probability that climate extremes have already worsened because of man-made greenhouse gases.
The report does say scientists are "virtually certain" — 99 percent — that the world will have more extreme spells of heat and fewer of cold. Heat waves could peak as much as 5 degrees hotter by mid-century and even 9 degrees hotter by the end of the century.
By the end of the century, the intense, single-day, heavy rainstorms that now typically happen only once every 20 years are likely to happen about twice a decade, the report says.
The report said hurricanes and other tropical cyclones — like 2005's Katrina — are likely to get stronger in wind speed, but won't increase in number and may actually decrease.
But Masters said the basics of the report seem to be proven true by what's happening every day. "In the U.S., this has been the weirdest weather year we've had for my 30 years, hands down. Certainly this October snowstorm fits in with it."