In a forthcoming report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finds that extreme weather events—like the floods, droughts, and major storms so far in 2011—are increasingly linked to climate change. Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press got an early copy of the report's summary, and writes:
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.
Scientists, of course, are cautious about saying that any specific weather event happened because of climate change. But they generally acknowledge, as this report does, that these kinds of extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and severity, and will continue to do so in the future as the world warms. (The report notes that scientists are "virtually certain" that there will be more periods of extreme heat, for example.)
The US has already seen quite a few expensive weather disasters this year, as has the rest of the world. Guess it's time to batten down the hatches.