Sustainable Living & Sustainable Lifestyle

Extreme Weather & Climate Change: Are They Connected?

Scientific Evidence Connects Climate Change With Extreme Weather Events

Scientists are increasingly making a connection between global warming and extreme weather events. The sheer number of events in recent years has given them plenty to research.In 2016 alone, the planet saw the hottest year in recorded history (the third in a row) and the killing of massive amounts of coral in the Great Barrier Reef.

In a research paper published late in 2017 by the American Meteorological Society, scientists looked at 27 extreme weather events. They found climate change was a significant cause in 21 of the 27 cases.

They reach this conclusion by using computer models to determine what the weather would have been like without the rising amount of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere.

Extreme Weather & Climate Change: Are They Connected?

Here are some extreme weather events they say were driven by climate change.

Rising Temperatures

Extreme Weather EventsThis, of course, is the area around which most of the talk about climate change centers. Studies of temperature increases in the Arctic, Asia and worldwide found that the increases would not have been as sharp as they were without human causes.

This study from 2014 also found that the frequency and intensity of heat waves have increased around the world.

African Drought

Just as heat waves have increased, so have so-called flash droughts. That’s a situation where lack of rain and intense heat cause a severe drought, much as it did in the early part of 2016 across much of southern Africa. A Chinese scientist said the number of such flash droughts have tripled in recent years, according to the New York Times, and that climate change is the main cause.

Wildfires

California has been rocked by wildfires in the past several years, as have areas in western Canada. At the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, researchers found that global warming led to situations where there is less vapor in the air on some parts of the planet, leading to a higher probability of wildfires.

Hurricanes

There still is not a direct connection between the formation of hurricanes and climate change, although plenty of scientists have pointed out that it does increase intensity. For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote: “In the future, there may not necessarily be more hurricanes, but there will likely be more intense hurricanes that carry higher wind speeds and more precipitation as a result of global warming.”

Warm Gulf of Mexico waters certainly helped build up Hurricane Harvey, which slammed the Texas coast in 2017. To what degree was the Gulf warmer than usual because of human-caused climate change? That remains a topic of debate.

However, the above studies show that the effects of climate change are having an impact on natural disasters – if not outright causing them, then making them more intense. That’s something political leaders need to take into consideration when designing environmental policies.


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