Climate experts now cite global warming during extreme weather disasters
By James Rainey
A feature article in the journal Nature Monday suggested that “attribution” research is allowing scientists to connect more weather anomalies — particularly heat waves, droughts and wildfires — to global warming. The article said that scientists had completed “attribution” studies on 190 extreme weather events between 2004 and the middle of 2018. In about two thirds of those cases, the researchers concluded the events had been made more likely, or more severe, because of humanity’s role in warming the Earth.
Last year, for the first time, studies suggested that three weather anomalies — a string of Asian heatwaves, record temperatures around much of the world and ocean warming in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea — wouldn’t have happened were it not for climate change.
“We have more confidence scientifically than in the past,” said Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. “I feel more brave personally to say to people, ‘How was it in the past and how has it changed now?’ There are cases — especially with extreme heat and drought and fires — where the logic in everyone’s mind is correct: It’s connected to climate change.”