THE BLOG
10/04/2013 06:10 pm ET Updated Dec 04, 2013

Extreme Weather and Our Changing Climate

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The first I heard about the terrible Colorado flood was through a text from my younger son, with a photo of the ground floor of his apartment complex -- underwater. He was safe. But for a second there, time froze and my heart flip-flopped.

As I write, at least six people are believed to have died in the floods and hundreds remain unaccounted for. More than half a year's worth of rain fell in one week. The National Weather Service called the deluge "Biblical."

Everyone across the country is talking about how the weather is changing. And the weather is changing because the climate is changing. Our weather is unfolding in the context of a warmer Earth, caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Climate scientists have shown that extreme rainfall, more likely as the Earth warms, is already becoming more common across the country.

The more informed we are, the more effective we can be in pushing for change.

One of our moms and colleague in Boulder, Vickie Patton, talked about the surreal conditions there, with helicopters ferrying people to safety and clouds bursting open over and over again. But she also talked about how moving it was to see people banding together, and to feel the outpouring of human caring and cooperation.

We do not have an ark. This Earth is our ark. We are at the helm. Now.

That small moment I had of my heart in my throat, wondering if my child was safe -- that's what we should all be feeling, as we think about a world of extreme weather ahead, the world we will leave to our children. Meanwhile, our hearts go out to everyone in Colorado.

Photo: Shutterstock

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