Scientists seek link between climate change and extreme weather events
Link between climate change and recent extreme weather events can no longer be ignored, say top scientists
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Friday, 1 July 2011
Scientists are to end their 20-year reluctance to link climate change with extreme weather – the heavy storms, floods and droughts which often fill news bulletins – as part of a radical departure from a previous equivocal position that many now see as increasingly untenable.
Climate researchers from Britain, the United States and other parts of the world have formed a new international alliance that aims to investigate exceptional weather events to see whether they can be attributable to global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
They believe that it is no longer plausible merely to claim that extreme weather is “consistent” with climate change. Instead, they intend to assess each unusual event in terms of the probability that it has been exacerbated or even caused by the global temperature increase seen over the past century.
The move is likely to be highly controversial because the science of “climate attribution” is still in the early stages of development and so is likely to be pounced on by climate “sceptics” who question any link between industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and rises in global average temperatures. (Independent)