Former Vice President Al Gore told a group of environmentalists the recent heavy downpours and flooding in places like Houston and Louisiana are made worse by man-made global warming.
“Texas has really been hit hard by the climate crisis and, for the last 35 years, has had more billion-dollar-plus climate disasters than any other state,” Gore said said at an event held Tuesday by his activist group, The Climate Reality Project. “Houston in particular has been hard hit.”
Thousands of Louisianans have been hit hard by extreme flooding in the southern part of the state, wrecking 40,000 homes and killing 11 people. Some 30,000 people have been rescued from the flooding that was brought about by days of torrential rain.
Houston, Texas was hit with flooding in April, with some parts of the city seeing 20 inches of rain. About 1,200 people were rescued and at least six people died when flash flooding trapped them inside their cars.
Environmentalists were quick to blame global warming for making flooding in Houston and Louisiana worse than it would otherwise be. Gore doubled down on such claims and used the flooding to highlight the need to slow global warming.
“These kinds of record downpours — that’s one of the manifestations of the climate crisis,” Gore said.
“It is central to the prospects for our future, for the futures of our families and our communities, and the future of human civilization,” he said. “That sounds overly expansive but that really and truly is the case.”
But Gore’s blaming of extreme flooding on global warming runs counter to newly published research on warming’s impact on precipitation. In a nutshell, two new studies found little evidence behind such claims.
“So, the next time you read that such and such extreme precipitation event was made worse by global warming, you’ll know that there is precious little actual science to back that up,” Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger, climate scientists at the libertarian Cato Institute, wrote in a blog post.
Michaels and Knappenberger pointed to two new studies “suggesting that attributing heavy precipitation events in the United States to human-caused climate change is a fool’s errand.”
A new study by University of Iowa researchers found “the stronger storms are not getting stronger, but a larger number of heavy precipitation events have been observed.” But researchers couldn’t attribute such events to man-made warming, instead they wrote “the climate variability of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can exert a large control on the precipitation frequency and magnitude over the contiguous USA.”
Another study led by a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded “no evidence was found for changes in extreme precipitation attributable to climate change in the available observed record.”
“Pretty emphatic and straightforward summary,” Michaels and Knappenberger wrote.
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