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Letters to the Editor

ICSC Director: Extreme weather is not result of greenhouse gas emissions

To the editor:

The scientists signing the Iowa Climate Statement are hugely overconfident in their assertions that we are headed for dangerous global warming and worsening drought. Considering the sun is thought to be entering its weakest cycles in 150 years, we may very well be in for global cooling, not warming; no one knows.

Contrary to popular opinion, the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events are not affected by our emissions of greenhouse gases, even if those emissions cause global warming. The 2011 Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change report (NIPCC – see concluded “…the data reveal there have not been any significant warming-induced increases in extreme weather events.”

This was the case whether the phenomenon studied was precipitation, floods, drought, storms, hurricanes, fire, or other weather-related events. NIPCC author, Dr. Madhav Khandekar, demonstrated that extreme weather events are now occurring with about the same frequency as they did during 1945-1977 cooling period.

To see if extremes are really on the rise, we must consult the National Climatic Data Center. We find that most records were set many decades ago. Here* are the state-wide extreme weather records for Iowa:

Highest temperature: 1934

Lowest temperature: 1912 and 1996

Most precipitation in a 24 hour period: 1998

Most snowfall in a 24 hour period: 1918

Greatest snow depth: 1969

Since we have no chance of stopping warming, cooling or extreme weather events, we need to better prepare for such inevitable climate variability.

Tom Harris, Director

International Climate

Science Coalition

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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