Is Man-Made Climate Change Leading to Extreme Weather Events?

Hurricanes, tornadoes and mild winter could be result of global warming, some believe.

Benicia is home to one of California’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gas, the Valero Benicia Oil Refinery.  In 2009 the refinery reported emitting 2,889,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions ranking it as one of the top ten stationary greenhouse gas producers in the state.  It is also the highest tax producer for Benicia which, like many California cities, has had to cut employee salaries and services in order to keep a balanced budget.

Earlier this week the Dallas, Texas area was hit with a series of tornadoes.  There are some climate scientists who believe that extreme weather like that spate of Texas tornadoes is a result of climate change brought on by the actions of humans including generation of greenhouse gas.  In the attached video, Stephen Vavrus of the Center for Climatic Research in Madison, WI, argues that the increasing number of floods, droughts, snowstorms, heat waves and other unusual weather events are the effects of climate change.

What do you think?  Do you agree that the current rate of climate change is due to the actions of humans and is the cause of recent unusual weather events?  Tell us in the comments section below.

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If there’s something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com.

Robert Livesay April 06, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Lets talk about the reduction in emissions in the past 20 plus years and not just what is happening at present. Texas tornadoes are not unusual and in fact these that happened recently are less than in the past season. So what does that say?
"The Black Panther of Poetry" April 06, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I have often thought that maybe the oil that we have been and are taking out of Mother Earth; shouldn't be taken out. I mean just use our body as an analogy. What if we take all the oil out of it? Imagine what would happen to our body(Earth) and our breathing(Wind) and our temperature(Fire), but thats' just me and what goes on in my Medulla Oblongata!!! And thats' no "Reason" to remember the beautiful times of "September" love was changing our minds.....
T. Gunter April 06, 2012 at 11:32 PM
I am of the opinion that one should take a very elementary approach to this issue. First one needs to determine whether there is convincing evidence that atmospheric CO2 is increasing in concentration. If one is convinced by the available data, one must then consider all potential sources that may contribute to the increased concentrations. Finally, one must choose to either; believe that CO2 is benign and resides outside the influence of the basic laws of physics; or believe in the heat absorbing properties of CO2 as supported by the basic laws of physics.
Mike April 07, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Anyone who believes that climate change is not due to the actions of humans, is likely to stubbornly hold to that belief.
Robert Livesay April 07, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Anyone who believes that climate change is due to the actions of humans is likely to stubbornly hold to that belief.
William Tell April 07, 2012 at 03:55 PM
First of all, if indeed climate changes are caused by humans, then why did we see climate change before the industrial revolution? What makes you think that anything we do will result in changing the climate for the better? Why spend all this time energy and money to try to change the climate? Why not concentrate on preparing for and mitigating the effects of climate change? Just saying
"The Black Panther of Poetry" April 07, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Again, are you the William Tell That shot the apple off of his sons' head in ye olde England, or at least related to him?
upptick April 09, 2012 at 04:03 AM
The earth undoubtedly has a cycle of warming and cooling. There's no question that the cycle existed long long before industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels. Whether or not humans can affect the cycle is an open question, but likely moot since the cycle prexisted Valero.
Kathy Kerridge April 09, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Many people ask if we can afford to stop green house gas emissions. I think the recent weather events show we can't afford not to. The drought in the Southern Plains caused $9 billion in crop loss, floods on the MIssouri and MIssissippi rivers cuased $4 billion in damages. The record heat last year drove up utility rates and I haven't even begun to mention Hurrican Katrina, and the massive tornadoes in the last year. When 100 year floods start happening every 5 years (Pakistan) and tornadoes and storms are more massive then ever you have to start connecting the dots. Even if you say it is just the weather you can't say that about the glaciers melting or the USDA changing the climate zones. That is not weather, that is climate change. There is no other explaination for it than the rise of green house gases in the atmosphere. NO other explaination holds water, or also accounts for the acidification of the oceans. While the earth has of course undergone climate change in the past it has not done it this quickly or with this many people on the planet.
upptick April 09, 2012 at 02:39 PM
"no other explanation" except for the geologic record of past ice ages and hot periods. Human time is tiny compared to geologic time and perhaps humans just can't get their mind around the natural changes to the earth and its climate.
Robert Livesay April 09, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Kathy what you are saying is no different now than it was over 50/1000 years ago. Big difference now is that we are able to record it. Was there draught in 30's? Take a look what happened in Galveston about the late 1890's. Years of floods on the Mississippi. You make it sound as if climate change is the only answer. I do believe the Enviro Greenies do more damage to the atmosphere than climate change will ever do. I guess all of what you folks propose takes no energy. Very strange.
Mike April 09, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Nicely stated, Kathy. You have the facts ( and the world's scientists ) backing your comments.
Robert Livesay April 09, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Kathy what proof do you have that the recent weather events were man made. Only the recent events as you stated. Would like to hear your proof. Maybe you can even make a believer out of me.
JB Davis (Editor) April 09, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Hey everyone, This was sort of a trick question.... Do you agree that the current rate of climate change is due to the actions of humans and is the cause of recent unusual weather events? The key phrase being ...current rate of climate change.... There is no doubt the climate has changed over time and there are many theories about what factors came about to cause the change. There is also some speculation that the rate of change is pretty fast right now. That is what I'm asking about.
Mike April 10, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth's climate system is unequivocally warming and is the result of human interaction. A quick study will show that scientific bodies of national and international standing agree. There is no case against human-caused global warming in the peer-reviewed literature.
Robert Livesay April 10, 2012 at 03:49 AM
JB no


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