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Letter of the Day

'We ain't seen nothin' yet'

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Re: Beware of Frankenscience (SundayExtra, Nov. 4). It is not helpful for the Free Press to give nearly equal space to an article that wants us to ignore the implications of Hurricane Sandy and just go back to sleep. We need to see that Sandy is a harbinger of things to come. We need to accept that human-caused climate change is happening now and its impacts will continue to increase.

The article asserts that "warming stalled for the past 16 years." August 2012 marked the 36th consecutive August and 330th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th-century average. September 2012 tied with 2005 as the warmest September ever recorded globally since record-keeping began in 1880.

Globally, the hottest 12-month period in the past 130 years was from June 2009 to May 2010.

This global warming is the systematic cause of Sandy's intensity. Scientists are reluctant to blame any one weather event on global warming. However, the connections are there and getting clearer.

The Atlantic ocean is warmer, giving Sandy more power and sustaining it longer. Elevated sea levels increase storm surges. The warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, causing heavier rainfall. Scientists are starting to become bolder in drawing the connection between specific severe weather events and climate change.

Last March, James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said this in Perception of Climate Change, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "We can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small."

When it comes to severe weather, "we ain't seen nothin' yet." The frequency and severity will likely continue to increase unless we reduce our dependence upon fossil fuels and start to build resilience. We need to act now to reduce the price we are forcing on our children and grandchildren.

CURTIS HULL

Climate Change Connection

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 7, 2012 A10

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