News / Science & Technology

Scientists Warn Severe Weather to Increase in Near Future

U.S. climate scientists say they expect more heavy rains and droughts in the near future. Weather experts were speaking before a panel of U.S. lawmakers in Washington.  The Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. was also at the discussion.  He says extreme weather in Pakistan this year is creating security concerns that could extend beyond the borders of his country.

In Pakistan and Russia, in China and the United States, torrential rains and severe heat have killed thousands of people and left many more homeless.

Appearing before U.S. lawmakers, these climate scientists said heavy rains have been increasing around the world, causing devastating floods.  

One reason -- the planet is getting hotter, and warmer air holds more water. Michael Wehner, a climate scientist from California,. says he expects extreme weather to become the norm. "The intensity of future rare heat waves are projected to be unprecedented with temperatures to be higher than it has ever been seen. I expect that daily high temperature records will continue to be broken at high rates across the United States and much of the world in the foreseeable future," he said.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, says this year his country experienced the worst monsoon rains in its history.  At their peak, he says more than 20 percent of Pakistan was underwater. "Unfortunately, the country is getting hotter. The summers are lengthening and the winters are shrinking and becoming milder. Monsoons, the main source of water in our rivers, are becoming totally unpredictable," he said.

Ambassador Haqqani says the flooding in Pakistan is also causing security concerns. "There is the prospect and possibility of insurgent and extremist groups taking advantage of the circumstances," he said.

The ambassador says Pakistani security forces have been diverted from fighting terrorism to helping with flood relief, leaving the country vulnerable.

He says one of the main causes of extreme weather is human activity. "Our scientists in Pakistan believe that green house gases emitted by factories, motor vehicles and even farm animals across the world are contributing to rising global temperatures," he said.

Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner insisted that global warming is not linked to extreme weather. "This is about how to tie this natural disaster to the Democrats' environmental agenda which will do nothing to stop the monsoon rains in Pakistan. There is no evidence of a direct link between climate change and these floods," he said.

These scientists say while they cannot tie any single severe weather event to climate change and global warming, they say the increase in greenhouse gases and man made pollutants will increase the likelihood of more extreme weather in the future.

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