By Paul Homewood
As the BBC’s Ben Rich has not managed to find any bad weather to blame on global warming for two months running, I thought I ought to lend a hand and put him in a time machine back to 1973!
This is Ben Rich.
Welcome to the BBC’s latest climate check, BBC Weather’s update on our changing climate.
America’s wretched weather this spring just keeps getting worse. After an unusually cold and wet winter, extreme rainfall in March has brought the worst floods to the Mississippi since the great floods of 1927. The disaster began in early March upstream, and has affected every part of the river from Wisconsin to the coast. 50,000 people have had to be evacuated as a result.
With heavy snowmelt in the Rockies now taking place, flooding is expected to get worse before it gets better.
Morgan City, LA – May 1973
It is not only the Mississippi which is affected. Most of the eastern half of the country has been hit, including severe flooding in the Northeast. The West has not escaped either, with many states hit by floods as well.
While there is too much rain in America, there has been a deadly shortage of rain across swathes of Africa and Asia. The African Sahel is now in its 6th year of the worst drought in memory. The drought has also been extending eastwards into Asia, with India badly affected. Last year’s monsoon was the driest since 1918.
Back in America, the extreme weather has also brought tornadoes, adding to the misery, with dozens of deaths so far this spring.
Scientists say that all of these events are tied to a general cooling of the Earth’s climate since the war. Worryingly sea ice in the Arctic has been expanding substantially in the last few years.
Here in the UK, the growing season is already two weeks shorter than before 1950. Experts are now concerned that the world’s climate could return to the that of the Little Ice Age, an era of drought and famine.
Climate scientists are now monitoring the world’s weather to see if that really is the case.