Do You Change the Weather When You Change the Climate? Yes

From Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting:

by Jim Naureckas
Posted on 07/02/2012

FAIR has noted the tendency of corporate media to play down the connection of extreme weather to climate change. (See Neil deMause’s piece in Extra!, 8/11.) This summer, as the country is beset by another devastating wave of drought and fires, the approach seems to be to acknowledge climate change–in the 10th paragraph–but end up by concluding that it’s impossible to say whether there’s any connection between climate change and any particular weather phenomenon. As in this L.A. Times piece (7/2/12):

Since 2000, it has not been uncommon for wildfire seasons to end with a tally of 7 million to 9 million blackened acres nationally. Though total burned acreage dropped during a few years of milder weather, it spiraled again last year when flames galloped across parched Texas.

Researchers predict that rising temperatures associated with climate change will lead to more wildfires in much of the West. But it is hard to tease out the effects of global warming from natural climate cycles, which in past centuries have seized the region with long, severe droughts.

“We’ve had conditions like this in the past,” [Forest Service research ecologist Bob] Keane said. “So you can’t say with any degree of certainty…that this is climate change. But what you can say is that it certainly meets the model of climate change.”

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