In a conference call with reporters, Karl and the other co-chair, Gerald A. Meehl, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said there is no doubt that human-generated heat-trapping gases have helped intensify both the Southwest's current drought and heavy downpours, which have been increasing at a rate three times that of average precipitation over the past century.
As greenhouse-gas emissions rise, North America is likely to experience more droughts and excessive heat in some regions even as intense downpours and hurricanes pound others more often, according to a report issued yesterday by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.
The 162-page study, which was led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, provides the most comprehensive assessment yet of how global warming has helped to transform the climate of the United States and Canada over the past 50 years --and how it may do so in the future.
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