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We are creating a new class of extreme weather events, with dire results

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by Andrew Freeman December 14 2017  read full Mashable article here

….Global warming is bringing us newly possible extremes, from the 2016 global average surface temperature milestone (it was number one, baby), to a stifling heat wave in Southeast Asia that set numerous all-time high temperature records.

The reason we know this tipping point in extreme weather and climate events has been passed is because of a growing sub-field within climate science, known as detection and attribution research. Scientists who work in this field are the climate equivalent of CSI investigators, probing for clues about what may have led to an extreme event soon after it occurs. …

…..Scientists tend to shy away from bold pronouncements. But this year’s report is different…..On Wednesday, at the American Geophysical Union’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, ….. contributors to 2016’s edition threw much of that typical caution to the increasingly gusty wind.

The message of the 2016 attribution issue is that a sea change has occurred in our understanding of what we, by burning fossil fuels for energy, are doing to our weather. In short, we’re now manufacturing our own extremes, scientists said.

It can no longer be said that we are simply raising the odds of particular events, or making them more severe, or both. In fact, we’re now pushing the climate into new territory entirely, researchers said.

In other words, instead of realizing the sci-fi fantasy of controlling our weather, we’ve done everything possible to push the atmosphere toward a new, more malevolent form of chaos. 

Out of the 27 extreme events examined in the peer reviewed report, investigators looking into three of them — the 2016 global heat record, a deadly heat wave in Southeast Asia, and “marine hot spots” that led to devastating coral bleaching — concluded that the events could not have occurred without the influence of human-caused global warming. In other words, take away global warming, and these things probably wouldn’t have happened. …

…Regarding the 2016 global temperature record, scientists concluded that at least part of the warmth was due to a strong El Niño event, but that most of the warm temperature record was due to human-caused climate change during the past 100 years.

…Another study in the BAMS issue found that extreme heat in Southeast Asia, particularly India and Thailand, near the end of 2016 “would not have been possible without climate change.” ….

 

 

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