comscore Man-made extreme weather has hit all over the world | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Man-made extreme weather has hit all over the world

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    In this July 20, 2016 file photo, an Iraqi man cools off the summer heat by using an open air shower in Baghdad, Iraq. Most people on Earth have already felt extreme and record heat, drought or downpours goosed by man-made global warming, a new study finds.

WASHINGTON >> Most people on Earth have already felt extreme and record heat, drought or downpours goosed by man-made global warming, new research finds.

In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists analyzed weather stations worldwide and calculated that in 85 percent of the cases, the record for hottest day of the year had the fingerprints of climate change. Heat-trapping gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas made those records more likely or more intense.

“The world is not quite at the point where every hot temperature record has a human fingerprint, but it’s getting close to that,” said lead author and Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.

Climate change’s influence was spotted 57 percent of the time in records for lowest rainfall in a year and 41 percent of the time in records for most rain in a 5-day period, according to the study in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For the last several years, researchers have come up with a generally accepted scientific technique to determine whether an individual weather extreme event was made more likely or stronger because of climate change. It usually involves past weather data and extensive computer models that simulate how often an event would happen with no warming from greenhouse gases and compare that to how often it does happen.

Outside scientists said what makes Diffenbaugh’s study different and useful is that he doesn’t look at an individual event such as California’s five-year drought. Instead, he applies the technique to weather stations as a whole across the world, said Columbia University climate scientist Adam Sobel, who wasn’t part of new work.

“This is a step forward in that it allows general statements about what fraction of events of the given types selected have a statistically significant” human influence, Sobel said in an email.

___

Online:

PNAS: www.pnas.org

___

Follow Seth Borenstein at http://twitter.com/borenbears and his work can be found at http://tinyurl.com/sethap

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up