Monday, May 27, 2013

Living in the age of extreme weather

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Widespread drought, thousands of tornados, exceptionally heavy monsoons, and record flooding are leading some people to conclude that the age of extreme weather has finally commenced. And rightly so. The past couple of years have witnessed extremely bad weather that the “breaking of records” was the best indication that recent disturbances were outside the normal range.

And as climate continues to change, scientists believe there will be more heat waves, droughts, and floods as the atmosphere continues to warm. Hurricanes may be more frequent, too -- or more powerful.

With the likelihood of such extreme weather disturbances occurring more frequently, how can people prepare?

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The destruction brought about by the massive tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20 has opened up discussions on tornado-proofing cities to reduce and even eliminate loss of lives when twisters occur; a survival plan of sort for America’s tornado danger zone. Many believe that with the right policy and the right incentives, doing so is possible.

Efforts championing disaster preparedness are always welcome. However, preparedness should also come with understanding why extreme weather is happening in the first place. Although many still believe that weather disturbances are more weather than climate change, it cannot be discounted that some of the recent floods, droughts, and heat waves can also be attributed to human-induced climate change.

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The discussion on climate change will never wear out Janique Goff, a champion supporter of various ecological initiatives. Learn more about her environmental advocacies here.