The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

June 27, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Friday, June 27, 2014

Climate change not likely to cause extreme weather events

It is unlikely that climate change is causing increased extreme weather. If the world warms due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures at high latitudes are forecast to rise the most, reducing the difference between arctic and tropical temperatures.

Since this differential drives weather, we should see weaker mid-latitude cyclones in a warmer world and so less extremes in weather, not more.

This is one of the few areas of agreement between the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

In 2012, the IPCC asserted that a relationship between global warming and wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes and other extreme weather events has not been demonstrated. The NIPCC report released last September states that “in no case has a convincing relationship been established between warming over the past 100 years and increases in any of these extreme events.”

The National Climate Data Center website (http://www.climatescienceinternational.org) reveals no evidence of increasing extreme weather in the state records for West Virginia. Here are when the records* were set:

Maximum Temperature: 112°F Aug. 4, 1930 and July 10, 1936

Minimum Temperature: -37°F Dec. 30, 1917

24-Hour Precipitation: 12.01 inches June 18, 1949

24-Hour Snowfall: 35 inches Jan. 27–28, 1998

Snow Depth: 62 inches March 8, 1978

Instead of trying to stop extreme weather events from happening, a virtual impossibility at our technology level, we need to harden our societies to these inevitable events by burying electrical cables underground, reinforcing buildings and other infrastructure and ensuring reliable energy sources such as coal-fired electricity so that we have the power to heat and cool our dwellings as needed.

Tom Harris

Executive Director

International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

Ottawa, Ontario


*Source: http://www.ncdc. noaa.gov/extremes/scec/ searchrecs.php.

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