Weather science has developed enough to discover that climate change is the mastermind behind extreme weather events, according to a new report by the highly regarded National Academies of Sciences.
According to scientists the thin line between extreme weather events and climate change are each day easier to measure.
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) is “the first definitive ranking of what events can be attributed to climate change,” said University of Georgia scientist J. Marshall Shepherd, one of the committee members who contributed to the report.
Are extreme weather events caused by global warming?
Dr. David Titley, the head of the committee that wrote the report answered that that question still remains a mystery and quite difficult to answer regarding the factors involved in a weather event, he also said that they are now allowed to tell with more accuracy how climate change has affected the intensity of some events.
The connection between higher global temperatures and a particular heat wave is easy to understand. The connection between global climate change and hurricanes or cyclones is harder to trace, he added, because so many different factors contribute to dramatic storms.
“All weather events result from a combination of both natural and human-influenced factors,” says the report brief, “that together produce the specific conditions for a particular event.”
Scientists who study what they call “event attribution” investigate the extent to which climate change influenced the probability or intensity of a given event.
According to a scientific consensus, human fossil fuel and greenhouse gas are the main reasons that ice is melting and warmer global temperatures, and they add that it is important to understand the full implications of climate change on global weather patterns through the study of event attribution.
Science and weather together
Climatologists’ growing ability to specify the links between climate change and weather events can be attributed to technology and the length of human climatic records.With the help of computers, scientists can simulate weather events under atmospheric conditions with human greenhouse gas emissions or without them, and with this determine the how often the extreme weather event would occur with or without anthropogenic climate change.
“We caution against extrapolating from one study to make big sweeping statements about all aspects of climate change,” said Dr. Shepherd. “We also caution that there is some selection bias in what events are studied.”
The report emphasizes questions like “Did climate change cause superstorm Sandy and hurricane Katrina?” Are too difficult to answer, nearly impossible, since natural variability plays different roles in any particular event.
They encourage questions like “Are events of this severity becoming more or less likely because of climate change?” or “To what extent was the storm intensified or weakened, or its precipitation increased or decreased, because of climate change?”
Source: Christian Science Monitor