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Extreme weather of last decade part of larger pattern linked to global warming

Scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have concluded that the incidence of extreme and unprecedented weather around the world over the past decade has not been accidental. For extreme rainfall and heat waves the link with human-caused global warming is clear, the scientists show in a new analysis of scientific evidence in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Check out this article to find out more about their research. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In 2011 alone, the US was hit by 14 extreme weather events which caused damages exceeding one billion dollars each — in several states the months of January to October were the wettest ever recorded. Japan also registered record rainfalls, while the Yangtze river basin in China suffered a record drought.

Similar record-breaking events occurred also in previous years. In 2010, Western Russia experienced the hottest summer in centuries, while in Pakistan and Australia record-breaking amounts of rain fell. 2003 saw Europe´s hottest summer in at least half a millennium. And in 2002, the weather station of Zinnwald-Georgenfeld measured more rain in one day than ever before recorded anywhere in Germany — what followed was the worst flooding of the Elbe river for centuries.

“The question is whether these weather extremes are coincidental or a result of climate change,” says Dim Coumou, lead author of the article. “Global warming can generally not be proven to cause individual extreme events — but in the sum of events the link to climate change becomes clear.” The recent high incidence of weather records is no longer normal, he says.

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