Inside Climate News] Devastating storms still roiling much of the American Midwest have dumped record levels of rain over the past week and caused flash flooding that has killed at least 10 people, inundated towns and highways, and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. Parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas and Louisiana received 10 to 15 inches of rain in the past seven days, according to the National Weather Service, resulting in record crests of numerous rivers across the central United States.
like these have become more common as global temperatures have risen
and the oceans have warmed. Some have the clear fingerprints of man-made
"Of course there is a climate change connection, because the oceans
and sea surface temperatures are higher now because of climate change,
and in general that adds 5 to 10 percent to the precipitation," Kevin
Trenberth, a climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric
Research, said. "There have been many so-called 500-year floods along
the Mississippi about every five to 10 years since 1993."
Scientists won't know the extent to which climate change played a
role in these storms unless they do an attribution study. Such analyses
determine how much the rise in trapped greenhouse gases increased the
odds of a single event happening. Increasingly, scientists have tried to
do these studies far more quickly to spread accurate information about
how climate change is affecting us today and improve longer-term
forecasts and warnings. Read More