Extreme Weather in the US: Is It Climate Change or a Historical Pattern?

Devastating wildfires that have destroyed at least 347 homes in Colorado and cost more than $11 million to control. A bizarre derecho storm that killed 22 people and left 4.3 million people without electricity across 10 states. Record heat across the United States. It’s highly unusual – or is it? This summer’s extreme weather has many observers pointing to climate change and global warming as the cause; others argue it’s all part of long-term weather patterns. Either way, insurance companies that must anticipate and respond to natural catastrophes are in the center of the storm. Here’s how some of the experts are interpreting this season’s dramatic weather-related events and their implications for the insurance industry.
July 06, 2012

3. This Argument Doesn't Hold Up

A derecho is a somewhat common weather event. In fact the phenomenon was identified and given a name way back in the 1880s. And as for the recent heat wave, yes it's hot. But it pales in comparison to the most severe heat wave to hit North America in modern history, the 1936 North American Heat Wave, which hit in the middle of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Incidentally, the 1936 North American Heat Wave followed one of the coldest winters on record at the time -- a six-month weather swing far more extreme than what North America has seen over the last six months.

— Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media

Source: newsbusters.org

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