Friday, October 26, 2007

Hansen says drought, flooding threaten Texas

Houston Chronicle: A top climate scientist warned Wednesday that Texas faces a dual threat from floods and drought if global warming is left unchecked. James Hansen, in Houston to speak before the Progressive Forum on Wednesday night, said predictions made two decades ago about the effects of a warming world are now beginning to come true.

"Texas is in the line of fire for double-barreled climate impacts," said Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "What we said in the 1980s, and is beginning to come true now, is that both ends of the hydrological cycle get intensified by global warming."

...Hansen declined to blame global warming directly for recent disasters, such as the present wildfires in Southern California or hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005. "There is a connection only in a statistical sense," he said. "You can't attribute individual events to global warming, but you can look at the statistics. We expect more droughts and fires with global warming. "And another thing, physics tells us that storms which are driven by latent heat will tend to get stronger, will tend to have more extreme events. Storms driven by latent heat include thunderstorms, tornadoes and tropical storms."

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