Tags: Climate Change | Global Warming | texas | flooding | climate change | oklahoma | el nino

Texas Wonders as Deadly Floods Replace Severe Drought

By    |   Thursday, 28 May 2015 11:31 AM

As Texas and Oklahoma struggle with devastating rainfall that killed at least 19 people and damaged thousands of buildings, weather experts and politicians are struggling over another question — is climate change to blame?

Disney/PBS kids' show host Bill Nye, "The Science Guy," has no doubt. He recently tweeted:


However, other scientists are not so sure.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue posted on his Twitter page:



Everyone agrees that the huge amount of rain drenching Texas and Oklahoma has caused enormous damage and at least 19 deaths, The New York Times reports, noting that overfilled reservoirs have collected eight million acre feet of water.

Yet how much of this has been caused by climate change, or by the El Niño weather phenomenon — which increases Pacific Ocean surface temperatures and, thus, increases the water content in the clouds, causing heavier rainfall — remains anybody's guess.

Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University Climate Science Center meteorologist, said, "Science does not say that climate change is causing the extreme rain and drought we’re seeing across the U.S. today and in recent years. Just like steroids make a baseball player stronger, climate change exacerbates many of our weather extremes, making many of them, on average, worse than they would have been naturally," National Review reports.

Hayhoe also blames the Texas building boom, which has increased rain runoff, for the flooding, saying, "The choices we’re making today are actually increasing our risk," the Times said.

Texas state climatologist and Texas A&M University professor John W. Nielsen-Gammon told the Times that El Niño may be blamed for only a 4 to 5 percent increase in the rainfall, and average rainfall will decrease by a few percent in the long term. It could be "many decades," he said, before global warming's effects will "become a more important factor in the state’s weather than the natural variability."

Slate meteorologist Eric Holthaus, however, noting that a strengthening El Niño portends more heavy rain in the future, wrote, "Texas’s quick transition from drought hellscape to underwater theme park was egged on by both El Niño and climate change."

National Review noted, "From this chronicle of scientific disagreement it should be clear just how insupportable are the easy links being drawn by climate-change alarmists in the media."

Breitbart News points out that severe drought and flooding are nothing new for Texas — the record rainfall happened in 1869.

And in 1935, long before any possible man-caused climate change, Texas was hit with 20-24 inches of rain in "just two hours and 43 minutes" Breitbart reported in an article under the headline: "Institutional Left Exploiting Texas Floods for Political Gain."

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologist Tom Di Liberto told the National Review that when it comes to predicting El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, "If you are someone who wants more or stronger ENSO events in the future, I have great news for you — research supports that. If you are someone who wants fewer or weaker ENSO events in the future, don’t worry — research supports that too."

Said National Review, "The ignorance of scientists is the reason that sweeping public policy addressing climate change is wrongheaded."

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As Texas and Oklahoma struggle with devastating rainfall that killed at least 19 people and damaged thousands of buildings, weather experts and politicians are struggling over another question - is climate change to blame?
texas, flooding, climate change, oklahoma, el nino
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2015-31-28
Thursday, 28 May 2015 11:31 AM
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