17 February 2014

Discussion of Extreme Events on Colorado Public Radio

You can hear Kevin Trenberth and me discussing extreme events and climate change on Colorado Public Radio. The audio can be found at the link at the top of that page.

In the interview I essentially reflected the IPCC SREX and AR5 views on climate and extreme events. Here is an except from the CPR news story that accompanies it:
After big weather events, the question that often comes up is: "Is climate change responsible for this?" That question has popped up a lot in Colorado recently given massive floods and fires over the past year.

In September 2013, devastating floods hit the Front Range and, less than a year ago, the Black Forest wildfire wiped out more than 500 homes near Colorado Springs.

Colorado hasn’t been alone in its extreme weather misery: Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast in 2012, blizzards and snowstorms tortured the Northeast in 2013 and the current severe drought in California means ski resorts haven’t opened and ranchers are selling off their herds.

Are all these events just Mother Nature cycling through her natural mood swings? Or is it, as some scientists suggest, that the human influence on our climate is causing these weather catastrophes?

Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and environmental scientist Roger Pielke Jr., director of the Center for Science and Technology in Boulder, disagree on the answer.
Comments welcomed!