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Study links extreme rain, snow to warming

WASHINGTON - Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding.

Two studies in the journal Nature Wednesday link the rains to increased greenhouse gases more than ever before.

One group of researchers looked at the strongest rain and snow events from 1951 to 1999 in the Northern Hemisphere and found that the more recent storms were 7 percent wetter. These weather events are similar to deluges that triggered last year's deadly floods in Pakistan and in Nashville, Tenn., and this winter's blizzards in parts of the United States.

The scientists ran precipitation data from those years and ran dozens of computer models. Only when the greenhouse gases are factored in do the models show an increase similar to what actually happened. Essentially, the computer runs show climate change is the only way to explain what's happening.

Both studies should weaken the argument that climate change is a "victimless crime," said Myles Allen of Oxford University, co-authored of the second study, on flooding and climate change in the UK. "Extreme weather is what actually hurts people." - AP

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