By Barbara Kessler

noaa.pngIt may not be news to riverside residents of flooded Iowa and Missouri, or to many climate scientists, but the government made it official this week: Climate change means wilder weather.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a wing of the U.S. Commerce Department, released a report Thursday that says the warming world will bring more erratic and extreme weather events.

“Among the major findings reported in this assessment are that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases,’’ says a summary of the findings.

The report “concludes that we are now witnessing and will increasingly experience more extreme weather and climate events,” said report co-chair Tom Karl, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

While that might seem anti-climatic – no pun intended – the full report should provide vital reading for those who want to follow what might happen in their region, be it tornado alley or the flood-prone areas of the coast.

Among the projections:

  • Abnormally hot days and nights, along with heat waves, are very likely to become more common. Cold nights are very likely to become less common.
  • Sea ice extent is expected to continue to decrease and may even disappear in the Arctic Ocean in summer in coming decades.
  • Precipitation, on average, is likely to be less frequent but more intense.
  • Droughts are likely to become more frequent and severe in some regions.
  • Hurricanes will likely have increased precipitation and wind.
  • No word in the summary on tornadoes, which have been recorded in numbers this year across North America.

  • The strongest cold-season storms in the Atlantic and Pacific are likely to produce stronger winds and higher extreme wave heights.

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