Climate assessment

“But if climate change causes severe weather, how to explain this year?” your Sept. 21 editorial asks rhetorically.

One might “explain this year” by what’s happened in terms of severe weather since September 21, 2012.

For example, Hurricane Sandy, which struck in October 2012 with over a hundred fatalities and billions in property damage must certainly qualify as “severe weather.”

In a November 2, 2012 press release Congressman Thomas Marino said, “Millions of residents across Pennsylvania are still without power and the effects of Hurricane Sandy will be felt throughout the Commonwealth for weeks and months to come.” Sounds “serious” to me.

Yes, by your editorial’s terms “It has been eight years – the longest period on weather record – since a major hurricane (with winds of 110 mph or more) came ashore on the mainland,” but still -.

Your editorial also states that “Government weather analysts note the number of tornadoes this year has been near a record low,” but “the number of tornadoes” doesn’t take into account the Moore tornado of May 20, 2013, which killed 23 people in Oklahoma – and which was followed by another Oklahoma tornado less than two weeks later that left nine dead. Again, that sounds pretty serious to me.

Your editorial may note that “All in all, the weather has been nice in much of the United States this year,” but I wouldn’t try selling that message in California, where the Rim Fire had “burned 237,341 acres, or 370 square miles by Sept. 5,” according to the Los Angeles Times, or in Colorado, where Fox News reported Sept. 19 that flooding had “left six dead, plus two women missing and presumed dead.”

True, that Rim Fire was, by the Los Angeles Times’ reckoning, only the fourth largest wildfire in California history, coming in behind fires in October 2003, August 2012, and July 2007, but still -.

Of course, “climate change” is a difficult, tricky scientific subject which requires research rather than rhetoric, but your editorial’s “the weather has been nice” happy talk sounds to me like a bulletin Japanese government might have issued on August 8, 1945, assuring the people of Nagasaki that they had nothing to worry about, since no one had dropped an atomic bomb on a Japanese city since the one that fell on Hiroshima two whole days before – an assurance that would have sounded a little hollow when the next bomb exploded on August 9.

Lawrence F. Bassett


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom