The Link Between Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events
All extreme weather events are being influenced by climate change as they are now occurring in a more energetic climate system (Trenberth 2012).
While extreme weather events are a natural feature of the climate system, the atmosphere and surface ocean of today contain significantly more heat than in
In fact, the rate of increase in global average temperature since 1970
is approximately 170 times the baseline
rate over the past 7,000 years (Marcott et
al. 2013; Ste en et al. 2016; NOAA 2017b).
This extremely rapid, long-term rate of temperature increase is being driven by
the additional greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that have accumulated primarily from the burning of coal, oil and gas.
Over the past decade climate scientists have made strong progress in identifying the links between climate change and extreme weather events, based on three main lines of evidence:
› The basic physics that govern the behaviour of the climate system shows that extreme weather events are now occurring in a significantly warmer
and wetter atmosphere, which means the atmosphere contains more energy, facilitating more severe extreme weather.
› Where sufficient long-term data are available, observations show trends towards more intensity in many types of extreme weather events.
› More recently, ‘attribution studies’ based on detailed modelling experiments explore how climate change has already increased the probability that extreme weather events would have occurred.
Press link for full report: Climate Council