There’s a myth that warmer air holds more water. That’s just not true, although you see the claim all the time. But climate change is putting more water into the air, whatever the air’s temperature, because at higher temperatures there is more evaporation. It’s evaporation, not the water-bearing capacity of the atmosphere, that is wreaking havoc across the world.
ITEM: Areas of Louisiana around Baton Rouge get 31 inches of rain in less than a week, killing thirteen and flooding thousands out of their homes. A once in a thousand years event.
Severe rain events are one of the long-predicted consequence of heating up the atmosphere. So a climatologist wouldn’t be surprised that in the last 15 months there have been hundred year floods in Texas, South Carolina and West Virginia. And in the last three months alone, floods in Maryland, West Virginia and the epic flooding in Louisiana. Those floods have combined to kill dozens of people and damage tens of thousands of homes and vehicles.
ITEM: Oklahoma City gets 18.2 inches of rain over a weekend; the Blanco River crests at 40 feet, three times flood stage. More than 1,000 homes are destroyed and four people are killed.
Although Americans focus on extreme rain events here in the U.S., it’s a worldwide phenomenon. In May 2016, extreme rain events in Central Europe triggered catastrophic flooding in Germany, France, Belgium and Romania. From June 5-13, 2016, a series of torrential rainstorms, some of them dropping in an hour more rain than the areas average in a month, caused catastrophic flooding across Southern England.
ITEM: In August 2016, areas of Macedonia received 20 inches of rain – three times the monthly average – in 2.5 hours. The extreme rain event triggered massive flooding and landslides. At least 21 people died, with dozens of others injured or missing.
In May 2016, areas of Sri Lanka had as much as 25 inches of rain in 24 hours, a record for the island nation, with catastrophic flooding, killing 200 people.
The Oklahoma extreme rain event is deeply ironic, because Oklahoma’s U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R., Denial) is a climate change denier, the author of a seriously lame book called The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, in which he betrays his ignorance of climate science, mathematics, logic, ethics and scruples.1
As the Earth warms, the amount of rain or snow falling in the heaviest one percent of storms has risen nearly 20 percent on average in the United States. That’s almost three times the rate of increase in total precipitation between 1958 and 2007. In other words, the heaviest storms have very recently become even heavier.
Another prediction of the computer climate models is coming true, even a little more quickly than forecast. Add that to the melting ice in the Arctic Ocean, the melting ice sheets in Greenland and rising sea levels, and you have a stunning mass of evidence that any thinking citizen cannot ignore.2
And yet the Republican candidate for President of these United States thinks anthropogenic climate change is a conspiracy by the Chinese.
It’s enough to make you cynical.