Environment Forum

Water, water everywhere

July 24, 2007

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As Britain battles to hold back the worst floods for 60 years, bloggers and journalists have been debating the cause. The daily green linked the floods to more intense rainfalls and stopped short of blaming climate change. Michael McCarthy, environment editor of The Independent, said no-one can yet attribute the floods directly to global warming, but said the “catastrophic” events “are entirely consistent with repeated predictions of what climate change will bring.” Paul Simons, writing on The Times Online blog, dismissed reports of global warming causing the record rainfalls, accusing Britons, accustomed to drier summers in recent years, of suffering from weather amnesia. He said the rain was more likely a natural blip in the climate. Olive Heffernan acknowledged in the Climate Feedback blog of the journal Nature that, while single events like the floods in the UK and China cannot be attributed to climate change, a Nature article to be published Thursday will present the first evidence that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions changed rainfall patterns in the 20th Century. A recent paper in the journal Science suggested that global warming may result in more rainfall worldwide. What do you think? Is the flooding in the UK and elsewhere a normal weather event or a sign of climate change?

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