Just a few reports of some of the more interesting weather observed recently.
Snow in Baghdad -- Snow has fallen in Baghdad for the first time in memory, and delighted residents are declaring it an omen of peace.
Winter Tornadoes –- Tornadoes were reported or suspected Monday [7 Jan 08] in southwest Missouri, southeastern Wisconsin, Arkansas , Illinois, and Oklahoma. Two people were killed in Missouri.
Latin America Natural Disasters -- There were the rains in November that left most of the southern Mexican state of Tabasco under water for weeks, including large parts of the city of Villahermosa. In October, Tropical Storm Noel triggered flash floods in the Dominican Republic that killed dozens. In September, Honduras faced the category five Hurricane Felix, just as Jamaica and Belize had been battered by the similarly strong Hurricane Dean the month before.
This is just a smattering of extreme weather events being observed around the globe on a regular basis. It's not hard to discover just how unusual 2007 was weather-wise. The news is full of severe droughts, record high temperatures and the like.
Such events are no longer unusual, they are the new normal. But if you attribute these events to climate change, you get accused of being alarmist; an “availability entrepreneur”. True, you can't ascribe any single event to climate change...But how widespread and how often do such events have to occur before we accept the reality of our situation? The re-insurers already know the truth and are taking it into account. To wit (emphasis added):
"The figures confirm our expectations," said Munich Re board member Torsten Jeworrek. "The trend in respect of weather extremes shows that climate change is already taking effect and that more such extremes are to be expected in the future."
When big business truly gets involved, things may actually begin to change. Still, given the amount of greenwashing out there, and the general tepidness of the Bali agreement, we have a long way to go before any real progress is made, cheery outlooks notwithstanding.
But hey, maybe things are about to change for the better because snow in Iraq is awfully close to Hell freezing over...***
Image from NASA MODIS Rapid Response Realtime Archive