Climate Change Is Driving Deadly Weather Disasters From Arizona To Mumbai

Climate Change is causing severe weather disasters from Arizona to MumbaiThis image toggle caption Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty ImagesHeat waves. Floods. Wildfires. It has been a terrible summer thus far. The forecasts for hurricanes, droughts, and fires are looking pretty grim.Climate change is to blame, we know this. How is climate change causing dangerous weather?Lauren Sommer and Rebecca Hersher, NPR's climate team, discussed the details with Morning Edition's Noel King.This week, the country is experiencing another heat wave. Are we the only ones experiencing this heat wave?This is not just a memory. The U.S. recorded the hottest June in over a century. It was four degrees warmer on average. Heat waves, like the one in the Pacific Northwest, can be deadly and many cities are only now realizing how unprepared they are to face them.What is the link between extreme heat events, climate change and them?Worldwide, there has been a total of two degrees Fahrenheit in warming. Although it sounds small, this number is enough to "profoundly change the statistics of extreme heat episodes," according to Dr. RadleyHorton, a Columbia University climate scientist. These "dangerous thresholds really high temperature or high humidity" could occur twice as often, he says.What does this all mean for wildfiresThe drought is affecting 95% of West, with heat drying out vegetation and land. Wildfires can burn hotter, and they also create their own weather systems where huge pyrocumulus cloud can produce lightning strikes that in turn cause more fires.What does flash flooding have to do with a hotter Earth?These flash floods have been quite unpredictable in recent weeks, ranging from Central China to Western Europe to Mumbai to Arizona. These rapid-moving waters have claimed the lives of hundreds, but it's not surprising to climate scientists who have been warning for years.Despite the fact that these floods occurred all over the world, their root cause was still extreme rain. It's becoming more frequent as the Earth warms (hot air + heat water = more moisture in air).Additionally, climate models show that winds in the upper atmosphere are slowing down at certain locations as the planet heats. This would indicate that extreme weather could persist there for longer periods.Scientists are trying to predict the frequency of these disasters in the future. Life is at stake.This story first appeared on the Morning Edition Live Blog.