KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tornados, floods, drought, wildfires...as people around the world shake their heads in disbelief at the natural disasters continuing to unfold in the United States, everybody is wondering...what’s causing this havoc?

“This year's weather thus far is most certainly unusual,” says David Salmon, meteorologist and president of commodity weather consultation business, Weather Derivatives, Belton, Mo. “The expanse of the extremes as well as the values, and the sharp contrast in extremes [wet/dry] make this year stand out from any other years.”

Opinions differ widely among weather experts as to what’s behind these weather disasters, but Salmon’s opinion is unwavering. “Ultimately, these events are being pushed by a warmer planet and the warmer plant is a result of human activity, be that deforestation, other de-vegetation, increased carbon dioxide, soot in the arctic and most importantly what our collective activities have done to the oceans,” Salmon charges.

When asked if global warming is totally man’s doing or also includes a continuation of nature’s never-ending ebb-and-flow pattern of going back and forth from warmer to colder temperatures, Salmon answers,” We will not know the answer to that with complete certainty until decades from now, but all of these events are lining up with the predicted consequences of a warmer world. The weather machine is a steam turbine. The tropical oceans are the boiler, the poles are the condenser and the jet stream is the turbine. Add energy to the steam engine and the turbine cranks up faster. A faster jet stream will tend to lock into more persistent seasonal patterns and yield greater extremes in local and regional weather.”

For more information on how extreme weather has impacted the US meat and poultry industry—and how industry has donated relief to victims of such disasters, read the cover story ofMeat&Poultry’s July issue, which will be published early next month.