Climate Connections: Climate and Steroids

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We see more home runs when a baseball player gets “juiced” by improperly using steroids, and scientists warn that the climate can get “juiced” too.

Listen to today’s Climate Connection

When record heatwaves roll across the nation, wildfires torch a forest, or floods devastate a local community, you may wonder, was it caused by global warming or was it just a freak event? This question is an area of intense scientific research, but scientists already know that global warming makes some weather events more likely or more severe.

An analogy is the use of steroids in major league baseball. Most major league players can naturally hit the ball out of the park — they’re world-class athletes.

But when a player starts taking illegal steroids, he gets bigger and stronger and starts hitting more home runs than he did before, because he’s “juiced” or amplified his system.

Scientists say that similarly, heat-trapping carbon pollution is like steroids — it “juices” or amplifies the climate system, making extreme weather events — like severe heatwaves, fires, and floods — more frequent or more intense. With continued global warming, we can expect more “weather on steroids” — with sometimes devastating consequences. I’m Anthony Leiserowitz.

Climate Connections is produced by the Yale Center for Environmental Communication. Learn more at www.YaleClimateConnections.org.

Reporting credits: Bud Ward and ChavoBart Digital Media.
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Environment: Climate, Sustainability, Green
National Climatic Data Center (NOAA)

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One Response to Climate Connections: Climate and Steroids

  1. Nullius in Verba says:

    “When record heatwaves roll across the nation, wildfires torch a forest, or floods devastate a local community, you may wonder, was it caused by global warming or was it just a freak event?”

    Well actually, I wonder if the wildfire was made worse by Greens preventing controlled burns and the clearing of deadwood, which allow fuel to build up. I wonder if devastating floods were caused by Greens dismantling flood protections in order to encourage aquatic wildlife.

    Otherwise, it’s obviously just weather.

    “This question is an area of intense scientific research, but scientists already know that global warming makes some weather events more likely or more severe.”

    Do you have any empirical evidence of that?