Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dust Storms and Global Warming for Blog Action Day

We have recently seen some dramatic photos of the great dust storm that swept across Australia on September 23rd. Naturally, we wonder if such storms are related to climate change and global warming. I thought that I would look around the Internet to see what scientists were saying.

A Reuters news article shortly after the storm indicated: Weather scientists are reluctant to directly link climate change with extreme weather events such as storms and droughts, saying these fluctuate according to atmospheric conditions, but green groups link the two in their calls for action to fight climate change.

For a debate on whether the storm was a symptom of "anthropogenic global warming," see the New York Times article, Australia's Dust Bowl and Global Warming.

October winds in Clovis, New Mexico

Another New York Times article, Climate change, water shortages conspire to create 21st century Dust Bowl, hypothesizes that dust storms, which have doubled over the last six years, cause early snowmelt followed by water shortages.

On the other hand, an article in The Observer suggests that, although dust storms may spread deadly bacteria across the globe, the storms, in a yet little-understood fashion, may help mitigate the effects of global warming.

And an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, which contains video and photos of the storm, also asks the question if we can be sure that the dust storm they experienced can be blamed on global warning.

Dust Storm in the 1930s, Colorado: The Library of Congress Archives

For blog posts on Climate Change from all over the world, please check out the Blog Action Day site.

1 comment:

the7msn said...

Once again, you've done the homework so I don't have to - I'll be checking out all those articles. Thanks!