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Evidence: Attributing extreme weather to climate change

Image: NASA

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How we know if extreme weather is due to climate change: ‘Event Attribution’

Summary

For too long, weather’s randomness has kept events such as these from being blamed squarely on climate change… Now, we can specify increased chances for specific events. This extends to forecasts: we can identify the places that are more likely to see wildfires, mudslides and fish die-offs. Such calculations dent both climate denial and a false sense of security. They take away the argument that ‘extreme weather happens anyway, so we don’t need to worry about it’. Extreme weather happens—and these metrics pinpoint what is becoming more likely, by how much and why… Such evidence is also useful for legal proceedings when citizens call corporations or governments to account for their role in climate change.Richard A. Betts

Home > Climate wiki > Evidence

Summary

For too long, weather’s randomness has kept events such as these from being blamed squarely on climate change… Now, we can specify increased chances for specific events. This extends to forecasts: we can identify the places that are more likely to see wildfires, mudslides and fish die-offs. Such calculations dent both climate denial and a false sense of security. They take away the argument that ‘extreme weather happens anyway, so we don’t need to worry about it’. Extreme weather happens—and these metrics pinpoint what is becoming more likely, by how much and why… Such evidence is also useful for legal proceedings when citizens call corporations or governments to account for their role in climate change.Richard A. Betts

Fig. 1: Click on the image to be taken to the New Zealand EWERAM page (image: Bodeker Scientific).
Fig. 2: How climate change affects extreme weather around the world. Click on the Carbon Brief map to see other countries and zero in on specific events.

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