The Science Connecting Extreme Weather to Climate Change

Published Jun 4, 2018 Updated Jun 6, 2018


The scientific field of "climate attribution" is most famous for research into the attribution of global average temperature increases to human influence. Climate attribution has now developed to the point where scientists are able to identify and quantify the part human-caused climate change plays in many types of extreme weather.

Over the past decade, researchers have found strong evidence showing that climate change increases the frequency and intensity of events like extreme heat and extreme rainfall from hurricanes. For other events like tornadoes or drought periods with little or no rain, the evidence is currently weaker.

Studies have also traced the influence of climate change in particular events like Hurricane Harvey and the 2003 European heat wave. Understanding the increased risks posed by climate change will help us plan for, respond to, and recover from destructive and dangerous weather.

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