The usual refrain that ‘you cannot attribute any single weather event to global warming’ is increasingly becoming unsustainable. It was predicted, that the effects of climate change would be observable in more extreme weather events such as killer heatwaves, devastating forest fires and destructive flooding. In fact, the only unpredicted aspect of these changes is that they seem to be occurring more quickly and with greater intensity than anticipated by climate scientists.
Using models to simulate climate with and without greenhouse-gas emissions, climate scientists have been able to attribute recent examples of extreme weather to the effects of human activity on the planet’s climate systems for the first time, marking a major step forward in climate research.
The findings make it much more likely that we will soon – within the next few years – be able to discern whether the extremely wet and cold summer and spring so far experienced in the UK this year are attributable to human causes rather than luck, according to the researchers.
Last year’s record warm November in the UK – the second hottest since records began in 1659 – was at least 60 times more likely to happen because of climate change than owing to natural variations in the earth’s weather systems, according to the peer-reviewed studies by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, and the Met Office in the UK. The devastating heatwave that blighted farmers in Texas in the US last year, destroying crop yields in another record “extreme weather event”, was about 20 times more likely to have happened owing to climate change than to natural variation….
NASA’s Jim Hansen at TED 1of2 Why We MUST SPEAK OUT on Climate Change
NASA’s Jim Hansen at TED 2of2 Why We MUST SPEAK OUT on Climate Change
In the US, 100 million people in 17 states have now had to be warned about the dangers of one of most intense heatwaves of the last century….with temperatures well over 100F (38C )… More than 40,000 temperature records have already been set in the US this year and freak storms, record rainfall and giant forest fires have left millions suffering….
May was the second warmest ever recorded worldwide and the warmest on record for the northern hemisphere…. Arctic sea ice melting at a record pace, the Amazon reaching its highest level on record, massive forest fires in Siberia and the Russian east, temperatures climbing to a barely imaginable 48C in northern India, and an abnormally strong monsoon which has so far left many hundreds dead and nearly 7 million people homeless from floods in Assam and southern Bangladesh.
There’s always been freak weather, but climatologists increasingly think these events are becoming less unusual. Instead of taking place every 10 or 20 years, they are happening every two or three. This, they are beginning to say, is the new normal, a taste of the future as the planet warms.
… more droughts, sudden downpours, more widespread wildfires, volatile heat, violent storms and more frequent heatwaves – are all here now. This, say the scientists with increasing conviction, is what the early stages of global warming looks like.
So how much more extreme weather does it take for governments and individuals to act, or for the oil companies to withdraw from the Arctic, or the media to link global warming with the events now being witnessed around the world?
Unless the climate of opinion changes, the present economic storms may seem as nothing.