Climate change isn’t just exacerbating extreme weather. Some events wouldn’t happen without it, according to a major scientific report just released.
They include a marine heat wave in the Tasman Sea off the coast of Australia last year. Ocean temperatures soared 2.5 degrees Celsius (or about 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal. The record-breaking event would have been “virtually impossible” without human-caused climate change, according to the report, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
It’s the second year in a row that researchers found that climbing temperatures are causing events that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
The report includes studies of 16 extreme weather events occurring in 2017, conducted by more than 100 scientists from around the world. In each case, the events were subjected to an attribution analysis—a special kind of study that determines whether, and to what extent, climate change has influenced an individual weather event. These attribution studies typically use models to simulate conditions with and without the existence of climate change.
This year, a majority—although not all—of the studied events were found to have been influenced by climate change.