It is very unlikely that global warming will cause increased extreme weather ("Climate change produces a summer of extreme weather," Aug. 15). If the world warms due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures at high latitudes are forecast to rise the most, reducing the difference between arctic and tropical temperatures. Since this differential drives weather, we should see weaker mid-latitude cyclones in a warmer world and so less extremes in weather, not more.
It is also a mistake to blame human activities for current weather extremes. For example, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (editor's note: this is not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) includes a study published this year in "Geophysical Research Letters" about the causes of the 2010 Russian heat wave. Researchers concluded that it "was due to internal atmospheric dynamical processes"" and “it is unlikely that the warming attributable to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations contributed significantly to the magnitude of the heat wave."
We will probably find the same when this summer’s weather events are analyzed.
Instead of trying to stop extreme weather events from happening, a virtual impossibility at our technology level, we need to harden our societies to inevitable violent weather events by burying electrical cables underground, reinforcing buildings and other infrastructure, and ensuring reliable energy sources so that we have the power to heat and cool our dwellings as needed.