This is What the Climate Crisis Looks Like July 4, 2012 : 9:34 AM

The Associated Press reports that the extreme weather events of the past several weeks are exactly what the climate crisis looks like. These events – and even more devastating extreme weather – are inevitable as long as we continue to ignore the reality of the climate crisis:

“Is it just freakish weather or something more? Climate scientists suggest that if you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, take a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks."

"Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho."

"But since at least 1988, climate scientists have warned that climate change would bring, in general, increased heat waves, more droughts, more sudden downpours, more widespread wildfires and worsening storms. In the United States, those extremes are happening here and now."

"So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the U.S. were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida."

"What we're seeing really is a window into what global warming really looks like," said Princeton University geosciences and international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer. "It looks like heat. It looks like fires. It looks like this kind of environmental disasters."

"Such patterns haven't happened only in the past week or two. The spring and winter in the U.S. were the warmest on record and among the least snowy, setting the stage for the weather extremes to come, scientists say."

"Since Jan. 1, the United States has set more than 40,000 hot temperature records, but fewer than 6,000 cold temperature records, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through most of last century, the U.S. used to set cold and hot records evenly, but in the first decade of this century America set two hot records for every cold one, said Jerry Meehl, a climate extreme expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. This year the ratio is about 7 hot to 1 cold. Some computer models say that ratio will hit 20-to-1 by midcentury, Meehl said.”