The new science of extreme weather

How extreme event attribution transformed climate science’s take on weather

We have known for decades that climate change makes them more likely, but extreme weather events are nothing new. Now, thanks to recent developments in climate modelling, meteorologists can quantify how much more likely increased greenhouse gases have made a particular extreme weather event. It remains a rapidly developing field. One of its pioneers, Peter Stott, outlines where the new science of extreme weather is today.


Earth’s climate is changing. As global temperatures rise, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events around the world also rise. The science of event attribution is being developed to assess the extent to which recent extreme weather events are linked to human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. Already this science has shown its potential by demonstrating that many events have been affected significantly by climate change. Further research will make it possible to pin down in more detail how a wider range of weather extremes

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