Extreme Weather’s Link to Climate Change Is Becoming Clearer

“The science is advancing fast, and that may surprise a lot of people.”

As the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent, improvements in data collection and technology are enabling scientists to be more forward-leaning about the impact it has had on extreme weather.

Previously, climate researchers were generally very hesitant to discuss the influence of climate change in connection to a particular weather event. The standard explanation was that a warming world couldn’t be blamed for a specific storm or heat wave, though the likelihood of either instance increases with every notch on the thermometer.

But this is changing now that researchers have more information and more experience studying it.

“The science is advancing fast, and that may surprise a lot of people,” Jeff Rosenfeld, editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, told Seeker.

The Bulletin just published its latest look at the issue, with 17 studies examining the fingerprints of climate change on extreme events worldwide in 2017. They range from a drought that wilted crops and fueled wildfires across the northern Great Plains to dense cloud cover over Japan, from African droughts to flooding in Peru and Uruguay.

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