Climate Scientists: Drought is or is not result of Global Warming

The story at USA Today says both, so who do you trust, Stanford University or NOAA.

An excerpt.

Human-caused climate change helped fuel the current California drought, says a Stanford University study released Monday.

Climate change has increased the chance that the two main weather conditions that led to the drought — higher than average temperatures and little rain or snow — will occur at the same time, the study shows.

Almost 98% of California is now enduring a drought, which is entering its fourth year and shows no signs of relenting, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The study, led by Stanford scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, found that the worst droughts in California’s history occurred when conditions were both dry and warm, and that global warming is increasing the probability those two weather patterns will coincide.

Diffenbaugh said having very dry years that are also very warm would not have happened without human influence.

Burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal increases the amount of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere and cause the planet to warm to levels that cannot be explained by natural causes.

The study also projected that the trend will continue of dry and warm years happening together.

Diffenbaugh and his team looked at historical weather records and computer model simulations to reach their conclusions.

Other scientists not involved in the Stanford study questioned some of its methodology and findings.

Scientist Martin Hoerling with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the current lack of rain or snow in California is clearly not part of a long-term trend, or part of human-induced climate change, as many studies have already shown.

He also said a drought measurement tool used by the Stanford team — the Palmer Drought Severity Index — is “flawed and unreliable” to assess the impact of climate change.

“The warming trend can only account for a small fraction of the actual warmth in California the past two winters,” Columbia University scientist Richard Seager said.

Retrieved March 2, 2015 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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