Major New Report on Effects of Climate Change

From the National Geographic, Human-Caused Climate Change Worsened Heat Waves in 2013, Study Says. The climate connection to storms and droughts is less clear.

A new report attributes heat waves around the world in 2013 to human-caused climate change, but finds the link between climate change and other extreme weather events—including the California drought—to be much less certain.

The peer-reviewed report [108 pp]“Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective” examined the causes of 16 extreme events that occurred on four continents in 2013. The special report, published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, includes 22 separate analyses prepared by groups of scientists from the U.S. and U.K.

Thomas R. Karl, the director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, said in a press briefing that “being able to physically understand extreme events is absolutely critical for our ability to predict future extreme weather and understand our role in changing the climate.”

Karl noted that “extreme events are very complex and are often caused by multiple factors.” Natural variability often plays a role, he said.

This is the third annual report on the connections between individual extreme weather events and climate change, led by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Another take on the same report is this article from the Smithsonian.

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