Memorandum for journalists covering extreme weather in summer 2010 and links to climate change
From: Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth, [email protected], 202-222-0748
To: Journalists covering extreme and unusual weather events
Date: August 13, 2010
RE: Extreme weather in summer 2010 and links to climate change
This summer has seen extreme weather and climate events with devastating impacts across the globe. Prolonged heat in Russia and flooding in Pakistan have harmed millions of people. A chunk of ice four times the size of Manhattan has broken off from Greenland and is now adrift in the North Atlantic. In the United States, we have endured a spring of record temperatures, flooding in Tennessee and Iowa, and a drought in the West that has caused water levels at Lake Mead in Nevada to be at their lowest levels since 1956.
Some media outlets have now begun to examine the connections between the extreme weather and climate change, but this story merits more coverage and in-depth reporting. The connections between a warming climate and extreme weather are unambiguous, and the media has a duty to connect the dots.
In addition to an overall warming trend around the globe, climate change will exacerbate poor air quality, significantly decrease crop yields and the food supply, and increase instances of severe and unpredictable weather, from hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts to flashfloods and thunderstorms.
The following resources can aid in your coverage of this story:
Scientific studies, reports, and information:
- National Wildlife Federation, “Extreme Heat in Summer 2010: a Window On the Future”: http://www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/What-is-Global-Warming/Global-Warming-is-Causing-Extreme-Weather/Heat-Waves.aspx
- Trapp, Robert, et al. “Changes in severe thunderstorm environment frequency during the 21st century caused by anthropogenically enhanced global radiative forcing”: http://www.purdue.edu/eas/earthsystem/Trapp_PNAS_07.pdf
- Environmental Defense Fund, “Global Warming and Extreme Weather”: http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=1405
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Summary for Policy Makers of the report made by Working Group 1 (see pages 5-9): http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf
Stories that address the climate-weather connection:
- Charles Hanley, Associated Press, “Climate Change Predictions Supported By Summer of Fires, Floods and Heatwaves: IPCC”: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/12/climate-change-prediction_n_679728.html
- Climate Progress, “Media Wakes Up to Hell and High Water”: http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/12/hell-and-high-water-finally-gets-medias-attention-but-are-moscows-1000-year-heat-wave-and-pakistans-katrina-linked/
- Christine Dell’Amore, National Geographic News, “Russia Fires, Pakistan Floods Linked?”: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/08/100812-russian-wildfires-pakistan-floods-global-warming-science-environment/
- Brad Johnson, Grist, “Climate Experts Agree: Global Warming Caused Heat Wave”: http://www.grist.org/article/2010-08-12-climate-experts-agree-global-warming-caused-russian-heat-wave/
- It’s Getting Hot in Here, “2010: The Year Nature Struck Back?”: http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2010/08/03/car-bombs-vs-climate-the-untold-story-of-the-floods-in-pakistan/
Opinion and editorial:
- Michael Hanlon, Daily Mail Online, “The Crack in the Roof of the World: ‘Yes, Global Warming is Real, and Deeply Troubling’”: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1301713/The-crack-roof-world-Yes-global-warming-real–deeply-worrying.html#ixzz0wCtGTuw8
Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) and our federation of grassroots groups in 77 countries are a force for the sustainable and fair use of the Earth’s resources. We’re progressives who confront economic factors fueling ecological destruction and injustice and who don’t shy from speaking sometimes uncomfortable truths to power. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.