'Huff and Puff and Blow Your House Down' - Will Your Home Survive Global Warming?

For the Sunday Week in Review, reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal filed yet another credulous report on the dangers of global warming, finding a unique apocalyptic angle: "Huff and Puff and Blow Your House Down - Most buildings - ice rinks, stadiums and homes - were built with specific weather conditions in mind. Will they survive climate change?"

Rosenthal showed an even more cataclysmic outlook in a December 14, 2009 piece on glaciers in the Andes mountain range in South America:

A World Bank report concluded last year that climate change would eliminate many glaciers in the Andes within 20 years, threatening the existence of nearly 100 million people.

From Rosenthal's Sunday morning jeremiad:

Under the weight of record snows, roofs across the Northeast have been buckling this winter, raining debris on children skating in ice rinks, crushing cows and tractors in farmers' barns and even flattening a garage full of antique cars. In December, nearly 18 inches of new heavy snow brought down the roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis, forcing the Vikings to temporarily relocate to Detroit.

Why? Rosenthal knows. She found certainty in an issue that is actually subject to heated scientific debate:

....The litany of extreme weather events has often left local officials scrambling to respond to each new crisis, looking - by turns pathetic and heroic - like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, trying to fend off nature's monumental forces.

Global warming is most likely responsible, at least in part, for the rising frequency and severity of extreme weather events - like floods, storms and droughts - since warmer surface temperatures tend to produce more violent weather patterns, scientists say. And the damage these events have caused is a sign that the safety factors that engineers, architects and planners have previously built into structures are becoming inadequate for the changing climate.

After several paragraphs of environmental fearmongering, Rosenthal eventually admitted that no one really knows the future impact of "climate change."

Widely varying predictions about climate change make it especially hard for engineers to build for the future - or for insurers to guard against weather-related losses. Indeed, scientists do not entirely understand the complex ways in which warmer temperatures influence weather.

Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 2010 had tied for the warmest year on record in terms of land and sea surface temperatures. At the simplest level, a warmer ocean surface means more evaporation into the atmosphere - and all that extra water has to come down somewhere, probably accounting for more frequent and severe storms. But it is not easy to predict which places will suffer snow or rain and which will experience drought.