Interesting news today on the climate front.

Two studies released 16 Feb. 2011 link global warming to extreme snowfalls and rainstorms. The studies show these weather events have become substantially stronger.

News reports indicate that this is the first time scientists have identified man-made global warming as the cause of heavy rains that can cause catastrophic flooding.

One study looked at extreme rain and snowfall over much of the Northern Hemisphere from 1951 to 1999. It found that recent storms were seven per cent wetter which is a substantial increase. This report was produced by researchers from Scotland and Canada. 

UK floods in 2000.The other study looked at the extreme flooding in Wales and England in the fall of 2000. It concluded that global warming more that doubled the chances of the flooding taking place. The flooding was the worse in the area in more than 230 years and caused more than $1.7 billion in damages. 

The papers were reviewed by 10 outside experts for The Associated Press. Most of the experts said the work was sound. Read George Monbiott in the Guardian for much more.

On a more positive note, environmental groups in the U.S. have asked President Obama to stop a pipeline project that would bring dirty oil from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico should be stopped. 

The groups, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation and Pipeline Safety Trust, say the 3,200-kilometer project should not go ahead at least until the problems of transporting the “highly corrosive, acidic, and potentially unstable blen” of crude from the tar sands are addressed.

The groups argue that the corrosive mixture that would flow through the pipeline would significantly increase the risk of a major spill from the line. More in the Edmonton Journal.