2015-05-30. When It Rains, It Pours.

posted May 31, 2015, 2:21 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated May 31, 2015, 2:29 PM ]
By Clara Chaisson, OnEarth, Natural Resources Defense Council. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: After years of severe drought, Texas is swamped. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported last Thursday that Texas was finally free of  extreme drought. After five debilitating dry years, it was great news. But what the weekend then brought—torrential rainfall and flash flooding that left at least 17 dead and numerous people missing in Texas and Oklahoma—seemed like a very cruel joke (one that still isn’t over). By yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott had declared disasters in 37 counties. El Niño is partially to blame for the soaking, because its warm waters drive rain in the southern United States. But this oscillation between extreme dry and extreme rainfall is also indicative of climate change. As Eric Holthaus of Slate reports, “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.”... http://www.onearth.org/earthwire/texas-floods-drought-climate-change

See also: "Hot in Hyderabad" Your questions about the Indian heat wave, answered. By Brian Palmer. Excerpt: A heat wave in India has killed nearly 1,400 people in the past week. ...In or around January of every year, India’s prevailing winds change direction. ...they draw hotter air across the subcontinent from the south. The heat builds gradually until a few weeks after monsoon rains arrive, usually in early June. In the final weeks of this process, the heat is usually crippling. The highest recorded temperature in India was 123 degrees Fahrenheit, in the state of Rajasthan in 1956. Heat-related deaths are, sadly, a routine part of Indian life. While this year’s death toll is worse than most, it is by no means unheard of. The 2003 heat wave killed 1,600 people; more than 1,300 died in 2010. The 2002 and 1998 editions each took more than 1,000 lives,.... Are the heat waves getting worse? Yes, on average. Between 1901 and 2009, mean temperature across India rose by approximately one degree Fahrenheit. ...It’s important not to overinterpret these trends. Some of the country’s most extreme heat occurred decades ago, such as in 1926. Nor are all heat waves in recent years directly attributable to climate change. The disastrous 1998 occurrence, for example, was likely the result of El Niño.... http://www.onearth.org/earthwire/india-heat-wave