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Do recent storms indicate a climate shift?

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Meanwhile, summer temperatures in western North America are predicted to rise5 to 8 degrees F. in the next 50 years, with no increase in precipitation, says Steven Running, an ecology professor at the University of Montana and one of the IPCC's report authors according to an article in Montana's Helena Independent Record. He continues:

" 'The western US in particular is in for longer, hotter summers, and I can conclude nothing else but that's going to increase wildfire dynamics,' he said. The IPCC authors want the public to know that the warming trend is human-induced and that the early signs of a transition of our entire landscape already have begun, he said. 'In the long run, only reducing our fossil fuel emissions is going to get us ahead of this problem.' "

Patrick Mazza, research director of the Seattle-based nonprofit Climate Solutions, likens the connection between the weather (short term) and climate (long term) in the US Northwest to steam rising from a pot of boiling water:

"Global warming is heating the oceans, and the steamy, moist air rising from ocean surfaces is rocket fuel for storms. A warmer atmosphere also holds moisture better. The line of clouds pointing from the tropical Pacific to the Northwest that show up on the weather report satellite photos are the physical illustration of these phenomena."

Mr. Mazza adds an important scientific caveat: No one weather event conclusively demonstrates global warming. But, he says:

"The point here is that global warming loads the dice for more frequent and intense storms, such as the Northwest has seen in recent days. When rainfall in the rain city of Seattle hits the second-greatest one-day level in recorded history, and the record was set only in 2003, it provides a very suggestive indicator."
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