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Earth in Action

Climate's effect on extreme weather is no game of chance

10:52am, October 31, 2011

Climate change is supposed to be about climate, you’d think — not weather. After all, climate is what you expect in the long term, like how bad the average winter will be; weather is what you get day to day, like whether there will be frost on Halloween night. Predicting even next week’s weather often seems like a crapshoot.

But seasoned gamblers know not to fold. All the cards in play suggest that climate change isn’t only about the long-term future, but can noticeably alter the planet’s day-to-day weather as well — to the extreme.

It doesn’t take dealer smarts to recognize that 2011 has been a year of wild weather. The United States alone has seen 10 billion-dollar disasters so far, starting with the Groundhog Day blizzard that paralyzed all creatures in Chicago, both below ground and above. The Federal Emergency Management Agency declared a record 87 major disasters.

Texas saw its wors

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