Attribution and adaptation: New Scientist issue on climate extremes

An interesting read in an issue devoted to the recent weather extremes:

IT HAS been yet another week of extraordinary weather. Torrential rainfall caused chaos across the UK. A record-breaking heat wave drifted across the US, broken by freak thunderstorms that left a trail of destruction from Chicago to Washington DC. Meanwhile, in India and Bangladesh more than 100 people were killed and half a million fled when the monsoon arrived with a vengeance. 

We have become used to reports of extreme weather events playing down any connection with climate change. The refrain is usually along the lines of “you cannot attribute any single event to global warming”. But increasingly this is no longer the case. The science of climate attribution – which makes causal connections between climate change and weather events – is advancing rapidly, and with it our understanding of what we can expect in years to come. 

From killer heatwaves to destructive floods, the effects of global warming are becoming ever more obvious – and we ain’t seen nothing yet. Our weather is not only becoming more extreme as a result of global warming, it is becoming even more extreme than climate scientists predicted.

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