PerspectiveClimate Change

How climate change affects extreme weather events

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Science  24 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6293, pp. 1517-1518
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7271

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Summary

Human-induced climate change has led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes and has contributed to a widespread intensification of daily precipitation extremes (1, 2). But has it also made specific extreme weather and climate events—such as floods, droughts, and heat waves—more likely? Although it has been said that individual climate events cannot be attributed to anthropogenic climate change (3), a recent assessment by the National Academies of Science concludes that “this is no longer true as an unqualified blanket statement” (4). Robust event attribution can support decisions such as how to rebuild after a disaster and how to price insurance by quantifying the current risk of such events.