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Plains Flooding And Climate Change Linked?

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Monday, March 22, 2010   

FARGO, N.D. - Although the Red River crested over the weekend in Fargo, climate scientists predict flooding events will become more common over time because of global warming. George Seielstad with the Union of Concerned Scientists says average temperatures in the Great Plains region have gone up 15 percent in the last 50 years. As a result, he says, a warmer planet creates warmer air, which holds more moisture.

"Much more of the rain that we get comes in intense downpours and much less comes in light showers, and that's another consequence that we can expect as we keep warming the planet. "

Reducing the nation's dependence on fossil fuel energy and using more sustainable forms of energy production, such as wind and solar power, could lessen the effects of flooding, Seielstad says.

"We have solutions in hand, and these times of major change actually create opportunities. We shouldn't look at this as a problem, but more as an opportunity."

Seielstad, former Benediktson Professor of Astrophysics, University of North Dakota, says in some regions, warmer temperatures have created drought conditions. Some climate scientists argue that it is impossible for global warming to cause both heavy rain or snow and drought, but Seielstad points out that drought is a measure of annual precipitation amounts, not the intensity of the storms that drop it.




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