3 Extreme Weather Events in 2016 'Could Not Have Happened' Without Climate Change, Scientists Say
The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society published a collection of papers Wednesday focused on examining the effect of climate change on 27 extreme weather events last year. The research found that climate change was a "significant driver" in 21 of these weather disasters, and that three events—the temperatures making 2016 the hottest year on record, the heat wave over Asia in the spring, and a "blob" of extremely warm water in the Pacific—"could not have happened" without climate change.
Scientists say the certainty in this language is striking for peer-reviewed research, which is extremely cautious in attributing weather events to climate change. "I am not necessarily convinced that these are the first ever in the literature, but these are some of the stronger statements that I have seen," report editor and NOAA climate scientist Stephanie Herring said at a press conference yesterday.
As reported by InsideClimate News:
While five previous editions included research showing that climate change made dozens of heat waves, droughts and storms more likely or more severe, none had determined that the events could not have occurred under "natural" conditions.
"The conversation needs to change," Jeff Rosenfeld, editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, said at a press conference Wednesday. "These are not just new odds. These are new weather extremes that are made possible by a new climate."
For a deeper dive:
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2019 and have continued climbing this year, despite lockdowns and other measures to curb the pandemic, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday, citing preliminary data.
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