Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Scientists Find Extreme Weather Events Fueled by Climate Change

Climate
Scientists Find Extreme Weather Events Fueled by Climate Change

It's hard to say for certain that some extreme weather events were caused by climate change but scientists are pretty confident about the connection in other cases. That's the conclusion of a report released today by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, which included 22 studies by 20 research groups who assessed 16 different weather events that took place in 2013.

Brush fires in Australia add to the woes caused by extreme heat waves there.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

The report, Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective, says that the cause and effect is particularly clear in the cases of heat waves such as the record-setting temperatures in Australia in 2013. The studies found that climate change made such heat waves both more likely and more intense. Five unrelated research teams concluded separately that greenhouse gases driving climate change were the underlying cause of the temperatures that scorched Australia, killed hundreds of people and tens of thousands of bats and disrupted the Australia Open tennis tournament in January, Australia's summer, with temperatures reaching 108 degrees. Two said they felt they could say so with virtually 100 percent certainty.

One of the report's editors, U.K. meteorologist Peter Stott, said at a press conference, “It’s almost impossible to imagine how you could have such temperatures in a world without climate change."

Despite that, Australia's current government under prime minister Tony Abbott has been turning back the clock on clean energy initiatives, repealing its carbon tax and proposing to roll back its renewable energy target.

Heat waves in New Zealand, Japan, China and Korea were also found to be clearly impacted by climate change. One study found that Korea's June-to-August 2013 heat wave was ten times more likely to occur if global warming is factored in.

Meanwhile, the studies included in the report found a less clear connection between man-made climate change and weather events such as the floods caused by exceptionally heavy rainfall in Colorado in September 2013, the June 2013 flooding and landslides in India due to heavy precipitation, the October 2013 blizzard in South Dakota and the prolonged California drought, now in its third year. Many of the studies found that these could have resulted from natural changes in weather patterns and that some were even less likely to occur as a result of climate change.

Three studies came to differing conclusions on whether the California drought had its roots in warming weather. The report's lead editor, scientist Stephanie Herring of the National Climatic Data Center, called drought "a highly complex meteorological phenomenon” with a pair of studies looking at the influence of warmer ocean temperatures unable to conclude that there was a connection, while a third study said warming could be the cause of low rainfall.

"With natural variability playing a substantial role in individual events and given the complexity of the weather and climate processes involved, many challenges still need to be overcome to authoritatively assess how climate change has affected the strength and likelihood of individual extremes," the report cautioned.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Extreme Weather Hits Hard Worldwide

4 Extreme Weather Events Caused By Climate Change ​Right Now

Mainstream Media Goes Big on Climate Change and Extreme Weather Coverage

 

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less
What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out? Ronny Hartmann / AFP / Getty Images

By Zheng Chen and Darren H. S. Tan

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch