Jun 22, 2015

Boulder scientist ties severity of Colorado's 2013 flood to climate change

Boulder, CO
USA
by
Charlie Brennan
,
Boulder DailyCamera
Shireen Malik, left, and Bruce Orr help gather belongings out of the home of Kathleen McLellan in Salina on Sept. 19, 2013, following the floods that devastated parts of Boulder County. A new study suggests human-caused climate change made the 2013 flood event more severe. Photo: Jeremy Papasso, Boulder DailyCamera
Shireen Malik, left, and Bruce Orr help gather belongings out of the home of Kathleen McLellan in Salina on Sept. 19, 2013, following the floods that devastated parts of Boulder County. A new study suggests human-caused climate change made the 2013 flood event more severe. Photo: Jeremy Papasso, Boulder DailyCamera

The severe effects of the flooding across Colorado's northern Front Range in September 2013 and other recent extreme weather events likely were enhanced by human-caused global warming, according to a paper published Monday on which a Boulder scientist is the lead author.

Severe storm events always have formed, and will continue to do so, out of the natural chaos of global weather.

But the argument advanced by Kevin Trenberth, distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and his colleagues, is that human-caused global warming is now exacerbating such storms' impacts.

The paper, titled "Attribution of Climate Extreme Events," published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, offers the September 2013 flood — as well as Superstorm Sandy, on the East Coast of the U.S. in October 2012, and Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in November 2013 — as examples supporting the scientists' arguments.