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Climate Change Mapped

Climate Change Mapped 26 February 2021

Mapped: How climate change affects extreme weather around the world

via Carbon Brief

In the early 2000s, a new field of climate–science research emerged that began to explore the human fingerprint on extreme weather, such as floods, heatwaves, droughts and storms.

Known as “extreme event attribution”, the field has gained momentum, not only in the science world, but also in the media and public imagination. These studies have the power to link the seemingly abstract concept of climate change with personal and tangible experiences of the weather.

Scientists have published more than 350 peer–reviewed studies looking at weather extremes around the world, from heatwaves in Sweden and droughts in South Africa to flooding in Bangladesh and hurricanes in the Caribbean. The result is mounting evidence that human activity is raising the risk of some types of extreme weather, especially those linked to heat.

To track how the evidence on this fast–moving topic is stacking up, Carbon Brief has mapped – to the best of our knowledge – every extreme–weather attribution study published to date.

Carbon Brief’s analysis reveals:

– 70% of the 405 extreme weather events and trends included in the map were found to be made more likely or more severe by human–caused climate change. 

– 9% of events or trends were made less likely or less severe by climate change, meaning 79% of all events experienced some human impact. The remaining 21% of events and trends showed no discernible human influence or were inconclusive.

– Of the 122 attribution studies that have looked at extreme heat around the world, 92% found that climate change made the event or trend more likely or more severe. 

– For the 81 studies looking at rainfall or flooding, 58% found human activity had made the event more likely or more severe. For the 69 drought events studied, it’s 65%.

First published in July 2017, this article is the fourth annual update to incorporate new studies. The aim is that it serves as a tracker for the evolving field of “extreme event attribution”.

Read the full article and view map here.