NEW YORK, United States, Tuesday December 20, 2016 – An annual report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found that climate change played a role in 24 out of 30 weird weather events last year.
They included the odd “sunny day” flooding in Florida; 10 cases of extreme heat; unusual winter sunshine in the United Kingdom, and Alaskan wildfires.
The report, which was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, documented climate change-tweaked weather in Alaska, Washington state, the southeastern United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, Japan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the western north Pacific cyclone region, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Ethiopia and southern Africa.
— NYT National News (@NYTNational) November 18, 2016
The scientists found no evidence of the effects of climate change in only six cases — including cold snaps in the United States and downpours in Nigeria and India.
Using accepted scientific techniques, 116 researchers from around the world calculated whether the odds of the extreme weather events were increased by global warming.
They based their calculations on observed data, understanding of the physics of the climate and computer simulations — techniques that the National Academy of Sciences said were valid earlier this year.
Their findings found evidence of the effects of climate change in:
Ten extreme heat events, including heatwaves in Europe, India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Japan, and Australia
The record average global temperature in 2015
Record-low Arctic sea ice in March
Alaska’s intense wildfire season
Extreme drought in southwestern Canada
Extreme May rainfall in southeast China
Florida’s “sunny day” flood in September
Record winter sunshine in the United Kingdom
NOAA scientist Stephanie Herring, who co-edited the report, highlighted the Miami flooding in September 2015. Because of rising sea levels and sinking land, extremely high tides flooded the streets with 22 inches of water.
“This one is just very remarkable because truly, not a cloud in the sky, and these types of tidal nuisance flooding events are clearly becoming more frequent,” she said.
The report also found that an increase in tropical cyclone activity and strength in the western Pacific can be blamed partly on climate change and partly on the natural weather phenomenon El Nino.
But similar storm strengthening hasn’t increased noticeably around the United States yet, study co-editor Martin Hoerling noted.
Columbia University meteorology professor Adam Sobel, who was on the national academy panel but not part of this report, praised the NOAA study but noted it wasn’t comprehensive.
It picked only certain, but not all, weather extremes to study, he said.