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Are extreme weather events actually increasing?

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By Dayna Vettese
Meteorologist
@daynavettese
Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 1:33

Recent studies, including last month's report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, draw links between climate change and an increase in extreme weather events.

According to the report, weather catastrophes, previously called "storms of the century," are on their way to striking every 20 years or even more frequently. 

This means we could see more EF5 tornadoes like the one in Moore, Oklahoma, more floods like those that inundated Colorado towns, another Sandy or Katrina or two in our lifetimes, more crops wiped out by drought and larger forests consumed by roaring wildfires.

Are extreme weather events actually increasing or are we just getting better at detecting them?

"It would seem at the moment, that it's the latter," says Weather Network meteorologist Dayna Vettese. "We're getting better at detecting it, we've got social media, everyone's got a camera, we've got satellite and technology we never had before. So we're getting better at forecasting and detecting these 1 in 100 year events."

Vettese adds that there is currently no connection between a warming climate and its effect on microscale storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

"We haven't really seen evidence of that yet and we're going to need a larger data set in order to make that connection." 

You can read more on this topic as meteorologists Gina Ressler and Rob Davis give their thoughts in The Weather Network's Insider Insights.

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