Frankenstorm Sandy, currently ravaging the northeastern US, is testament enough to the predictable unpredictability inherent in global warming. What I mean by “predictable unpredictability” is something like the following: though we cannot know exactly how individual weather systems in particular regions will change in response to the overall alterations in climatic patterns caused by human activity, meteorologists have an increasingly sophisticated understanding of how certain climate patterns influence specific kinds of weather patterns and events.
For example, links have recently been made between extreme and extremely prolonged weather events in the US and the loss of sea ice in the Arctic, which is itself due to human activity altering the global atmosphere. Stu Ostro, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service, is outspoken in his attempts to draw attention to how uncannily apparently “deviant” weather events of the past decade cohere with predictions about climatic changes and the best available knowledge of how climate influences weather. So climate scientists are increasingly on board with drawing these kinds of connections and rhetorically labeling certain events as caused, at least in part, by global warming.