Climate Change

Hiding in plain sight

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Science  08 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6282, pp. 184-185
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6282.184-d

Human influence on record-breaking heatwaves was apparent as early as the 1930s

PHOTO: © JOSE LUIS CUESTA/CORDON PRESS/CORBIS

As climate changes and global temperatures continue to rise, the effects of human activities on extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, and storms have become more clear. How long ago did our influence become discernable? King et al. report that a notable human contribution to record-breaking global heat waves can be seen as early as the 1930s. Since that time, all of the last 16 record-setting hot seasons or years globally have had a discernable anthropogenic component of their probability of occurrence. The authors point out that their approach could be extended to examine other high-impact extremes that were not record-breaking.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2015GL067448 (2016).

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