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Is Global Warming Causing Extreme Weather Patterns?


Today’s modern world is shaped by advancement in scientific research called technology. Science tries to explain the numerous happenings in peoples’ lives and nature’s happenings. The gradual temperature rise of the earth’s atmosphere is popularly called global warming. Meteorologist and climate scientist explain global warming to be caused by the increase in carbon emissions to the atmosphere, which cause a general rise in earth’s temperatures. This paper highlights scientific literature studies and explanations, how global warming is responsible for the current severe weather conditions experienced in modern times. It also discusses the validity of the notion that global warming causes extreme weather conditions.

Literature review

There are many climate scientists opposing the view that global warming is the cause of severe weather conditions experienced today. This comes in the wake of media hype and political campaigns of the detrimental effect of global warming to the earth surface. With the advent of this millennium, there has been constant campaign for countries to reduce carbon emissions as they were the causes of global warming. Global warming in recent times has gained popularity for the publicity that it is responsible for the extreme weathers conditions such as drought, hurricanes, tornadoes and rise in sea levels. The documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”by Al Gore released in 2006 was highly publicized globally including America where it was shown in schools. It championed for the seizure of carbon emissions from developed and rapidly developing countries, which caused global warming (Gore et al., 2006). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) affirms that most of the greenhouse gas emissions result from human activities (Tigay et al., 2011). 

There are scientists who share the view that global warming and climate changes are the significant enhancers of extreme weather conditions. They aggressively point out the severe hurricanes experienced in the US as well as tornadoes and tropical typhoons. The fact that rising moisture level in the atmosphere and warm ocean temperatures triggers hurricanes, it forms most of these scientist backgrounds to their view on climate change’s effects on weather conditions.  Jay Gulledge a scientist with the Pew Center affirms that there will be an increase in extreme weather patterns from the warming planet. Some scientists hold on the opinion that global warming is responsible for severe weather conditions, which is not yet proved (Tigay et al., 2011).   James Hansen a NASA climate scientist, states that global warming is the main cause of heat waves and other severe weather events experienced over the last ten years. He points out the heat wave in Texas in 2010 and one that range Europe in 2003 as effects of greenhouse gas emissions. A study examining extreme weather events between 1951 and 1980 was compared to the events between 1981 and 2011. The results showed that there was a significant increase in the extreme weather events to about 13 percent compared to 4 percent in the former years. This forms the core to their proposed conclusion that extreme weather events could be caused by global warming (Gillis, 2012).

There are scientists who criticize this analysis and studies, such as, Richard Muller a lecturer in physics at the University of California opposes the idea that extreme weather patterns are caused by global warming. He acknowledges that the earth’s temperatures have risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of 100years to date (Tigay et al., 2011).  Researcher Martin P. Hoerling of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published his study on 2010 heat wave that swept across Russia and suggested that it was largely a result of natural climate variability and not global warming effects. He scoffs at the scientists who claim extreme weather events are effects of global warming terming them as perception minded and science is not about perception (Hoerling et al., 2008).


It is true that there are opposing scientists to perceived effects of global warming. There is no hard evidence to the fact that global warming and climate change causes extreme weather events. This makes understanding of the various natural calamities such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis experienced over the recent years hard to comprehend their cause. The above studies and scientific views do not help in answering the causes of these extreme events. There appears to be some consensus between the opposing camps on the effects of greenhouses gases to causes warmer atmosphere. It is prudent for countries and cities to reduce carbon emissions, for example, the adoption of new rules in California to reduce greenhouse gases by the year 2020 (Greenblatt, 2009). Science is about hard facts and not exaggerations or perceptions, which make it hard to support the opinion that global warming is accountable for the extreme weather patterns experienced (Tigay et al., 2011). It can only be understood that the severity of this extreme weather patterns could be associated with effects of warm atmosphere.


It is hard to conclude that global warming is the cause of the extreme weather patterns experienced across the globe.. Science has not proved the causes of recent extreme weather patterns, which makes it difficult to understand the effects of global warming. It is prudent to continue with research on global warming effects, as well as, the causes of recent extreme weather patterns affecting different parts in the world.  

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