Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

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Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

Harris Sherman, under secretary for natural resources and the environment atthe U.S. Department of Agriculture, oversees the U.S. Forest Service and told TheWashington Post that “the climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicatorof that.” 37Floods and extreme precipitationFloods and extreme precipitationMedian household income for counties affected by billion-dollar extreme weatherevents in 2011-2012Fast facts• A single flood damaging a low-income household canpush that household below the poverty line• Mississippi River and Missouri River floods caused $5billion in economic damages in 2011• Households in areas affected by the largest floods in2011 and 2012 earn an average of 14 percent less thanthe U.S. median annual household income$0-$20,000$20,000-$40,000$40,000-$60,000$60,000-$80,000More than $80,000Climate change has also increased the severity of precipitation events. Kevin E.Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research,recently noted:All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment inwhich they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.The air is on average warmer and moister than it was prior to about 1970 and inturn has likely led to a 5–10 % effect on precipitation and storms that is greatlyamplified in extremes. The warm moist air is readily advected onto land andcaught up in weather systems as part of the hydrological cycle, where it contributesto more intense precipitation events that are widely observed to be occurring. 389 Center for American Progress | Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle- and Lower-Income Americans

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