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Sci Tech    H3'ed 3/3/11

Climate Change 'Number One Issue' in Central America

By Dahr Jamail  Posted by Mac McKinney (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
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Excerpt reposted from Al Jazeera :

Levies have been breached by severe flooding from intensified storms linked to climate change [Erika Blumenfeld/AJE]

San Salvador - "We have a very clear position," El Salvador's Minister of Environment, Herman Chavez, told Al Jazeera at his office in San Salvador, the capital.

"The President of El Salvador, last year on July 20th, in an extraordinary meeting of presidents that was convened here in San Salvador, launched the intervention process. We put Climate Change as the number one issue for the region."

The government of El Salvador's position, which mirrors that of other Central American countries like Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras, is due to the fact that anthropogenic (human caused) climate change is impacting the planet more than ever, and scientists expect it to worsen.

In January, new figures provided by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed that Earth's global average surface temperature for 2010 tied 2005 for the hottest year on record. The two agencies' figures also showed that 2010 was the wettest year ever recorded.

Wild weather

2010 proved to be a model year for what the planet can expect as the result of climate change. Huge floods occurred in Pakistan, Australia, and California. A record-breaking heat wave in Russia, and the severe die-offs of coral reefs underscored the acceleration of the global trends in Climate Change.

Last year was also the 34th consecutive year that global temperatures have been above the 20th-century average, and nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 due to what scientists attribute to a 40 per cent increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution began.

"Climate change for us is not a hypothesis," Minister Chavez added. "It is a very concrete reality that strikes us. The disasters we've been having are very clearly linked to climate change."

El Salvador, like other countries in the region, has been dramatically affected by severe weather events including extreme rain events and flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes that are increasing in both frequency and intensity.

New research

On February 16 two new studies published in the journal Nature confirmed the link between climate change and more extreme precipitation events.

Based on measurements taken from over 6,000 weather stations, results revealed that human-induced heating of the planet has already made rainfall more intense, which has led to more severe floods.

The studies suggest that the planet's climatic system may well be more sensitive to small temperature increases than was previously believed.

"Warmer air contains more moisture and leads to more extreme precipitation," Francis Zwiers of the University of Victoria, one of the researchers, reported.

The studies show that extreme precipitation and flooding over the entire northern hemisphere has increased by seven percent between 1951 and 1999 as a result of anthropogenic global warming. That represents an increase more than twice the increase projected by climate modeling. (Dahr Jamail's article is continued HERE )

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