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Report: Climate change is making specific weather events more extreme

December 9, 2019
Wildfires and heavy rains are specific types of weather events that can be made more extreme by climate change, say scientists in research published December 2019 in a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. In this photo, a wildfire rages in the hills of the Los Angeles area. (2017 stock image.)

A drought that parched the southwestern U.S. Extraordinary flooding in the Mid-Atlantic states. Heat waves that baked the Iberian peninsula and northeast Asia. Vanishing sea ice in the Bering Sea. 

Scientists say these remarkable 2018 extreme weather events were made more likely by human-caused climate change, in new research published today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Societyoffsite link (BAMS). 

The eighth edition of the report, "Explaining Extreme Events in 2018 From a Climate Perspective," presents 20 new peer-reviewed analyses of extreme weather around the world looking at both historical observations and model simulations to determine whether and by how much climate change might have influenced specific extreme events. 

Stephanie Herring, a NOAA climate scientist and editor of the BAMS special issue, said that as the field of climate attribution matures, the tools scientists use to identify a climate signal (marker) in extreme weather events continue to improve. 

“It’s now been 15 years since the publication of what is considered the first research on the role of climate change in extreme weather, and during that time the evidence that human-caused climate change is impacting weather events has only been increasing,” Herring said. “This year we are seeing more and more evidence of climate change 'fingerprints' on different types of events, especially wildfires and heavy rain.”

Read the full Explaining Extreme Events in 2018 report issued by the American Meteorology Society.offsite link

Media contact for the American Meteorological Society
Rachel Thomas-Medwid, (978)-621-3070