Over the longer term, this kind of weather isn’t totally unexpected—extreme swings in precipitation are becoming the new normal. This month’s heavy rains are directly linked to a building El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which is forecast to strengthen throughout the summer, meaning heavy rains could return to the southern plains at regular intervals.
A steadily escalating whipsaw between drought and flood is one of the most confident predictions of an atmosphere with enhanced evaporation rates—meaning, global warming. Since 1958, there’s been a 16 percent increase in the amount of rain falling in the heaviest rainstorms on the Plains, even as long-term projections point toward an increased risk of megadrought. Both of these can happen at the same time.
Texas’s quick transition from drought hellscape to underwater theme park was egged on by both El Niño and climate change. A quick check of the latest seasonal forecast shows there’s a lot more rain to come this summer.The heat wave in India is making a lot of news too, and when you see scenes of the slums of that country, as were shown on Foreign Correspondent last night, it's hard to imagine a country less prepared for killing heat. (Well, maybe Bangladesh, because one of the unsaid things about the story of the father and son working as rubbish collectors in India was "gee, how bad must Bangladesh be for this guy to think he had a better chance of getting ahead by doing this in India?")
Mind you, it's not clear that maximum temperatures are often setting new, all time records; but heat waves are measured by length, not just daily maximum records. Does the Indian weather bureau think climate change is making them worse? Yes, it seems so, but I guess they are just all part of the global UN socialist conspiracy, hey?:
And heat waves are increasing as a result of global climate change, according to the India Meteorological Department. Over the past half century, from 1961 to 2010, heat waves (when the temperature exceeds the average by 5 or 6 degrees Celsius) have increased by a third.
A heat wave in Ahmedabad in 2010, with temperatures reaching 112 degrees Fahrenheit, caused an “excess mortality” of about 1,300 people, according to a study done in 2014.And as for the El Nino, I was looking at the Climate Reanalyser site for today's summary of sea surface temperature anomalies, and this is what it looks like:
A heat wave in Andhra Pradesh in 2003 — still considered perhaps the worst in recent years — claimed more than 3,000 lives.