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Extreme Weather Events Linked To Global Warming, Study Suggests

First Posted: Apr 25, 2017 05:41 AM EDT

Record-breaking weather events, including droughts, downpours and heat waves, can be related to man-made global warming, a new study has suggested. A team of scientists analyzed global warming’s influence on extreme climate events to find that climate change has a substantial effect.

The study, published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked specifically at the link between record weather events over the past many decades and climate change. The researchers found that in more than 80 percent of the heat records, which included both record hot months and days, there was a pronounced indication of global warming.

“The world is not yet at a place where every single record-setting hot event has a human fingerprint, but we are getting close to that point,” climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh from Stanford University said, according to The Washington Post report. “Greater than 80 percent of those record hot events is a substantial fraction.”

Incidentally, man-made climate change, which is also referred to as global warming, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas that release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The additional CO2 makes temperatures of the atmosphere and oceans rise. Subsequently, the atmosphere holds more water vapor, which not only adds extra fuel to storms but also causes a rise in global sea levels.

The researchers started their study with the assumption that global warming did not have any part in record-breaking climate events because they did not want to inappropriately attribute an event to climate change. The team then proceeded to use statistical analyses to examine whether that assumption was valid, thereby taking a conservative approach. Based on the research, Diffenbaugh found that global warming is linked to record-breaking extremes in precipitation and also the record low Arctic sea ice in 2012.

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