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Climate Attribution Report Highlights Heat Waves, Ocean Warming


Research on extreme weather event attribution is gaining momentum, with heat waves and ocean warming emerging as the anomalies that connect most readily to climate change, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society reported last week in its annual attribution report.


“One thing we can say for sure: We don’t say ‘one can’t attribute any single event to climate change’ any more,” atmospheric scientist Adam Sobel told Climate Central.

“It’s a real achievement of the scientific community,” said Stanford University climate researcher Noah Diffenbaugh. The report brought together 32 studies of 28 weather events on all seven continents.

“Of the eight heat events examined—including ones in Argentina, Australia, South Korea, China and Europe—seven were clearly made more likely because of human-caused warming,” Thompson writes. In the eighth, the connection was uncertain. “A May 2014 heat wave in Australia was made 23 times more likely because of warming, according to one of the BAMS studies. In several of the events, warming also made the heat waves more intense.”

Droughts, wildfires, and winter storms “were harder to pinpoint,” she adds,” partly because “such events are inherently complex, with a multitude of factors influencing them.” (h/t to the Georgetown Climate Center for first pointing us to this story)