Climate Change Likely Worsened 2013 Colorado Floods, Says Study

June 22, 2015
Photo: Before/after floods 11a
A local woman walks in an evacuated neighborhood where many homes are inundated with water from overflowing canals after days of flash floods and intense rain, in Hygeine, Colo., Sunday Sept. 15, 2013. 

a new study argues.

Kevin Trenberth, distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, is the lead author on the paper which examines the Colorado floods, as well as Superstorm Sandy and Super Typhoon Haiyan.

The paper rejects efforts to determine if climate change or natural variability are solely responsible for more frequent extreme weather like the 2013 floods. "Both are invariably in play," the paper's abstract says.

Rather, Trenberth's work argues that thermodynamic variables like higher sea surface temperatures can supercharge extreme weather systems. 

"Even if just a third or a half of the increased sea surface temperature is attributable to human-caused warming, then the storm surge and associated damage was considerably influenced by climate change," Trenberth said in a press release quoted by the Boulder Daily Camera. 

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