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Extreme Weather Scorecard

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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The following summary of a NOAA report on extreme weather events in 2014 highlights what happened along with whether or not human-induced atmospheric warming due to greenhouse gas emission and land use was noticeable. Not all occurrences were assessed as displaying that influence--but just over half of them were.--Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

Human activities, such as greenhouse gas emissions and land use, influenced specific extreme weather and climate events in 2014, including tropical cyclones in the central Pacific, heavy rainfall in Europe, drought in East Africa, and stifling heat waves in Australia, Asia, and South America, according to a new report...The report, “Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective” published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, addresses the natural and human causes of individual extreme events from around the world in 2014, including Antarctica. NOAA scientists served as three of the five lead editors on the report.

In this year’s report, 32 groups of scientists from around the world investigate 28 individual extreme events in 2014 and break out various factors that led to the extreme events, including the degree to which natural variability and human-induced climate change played a role. When human influence for an event cannot be conclusively identified with the scientific tools available today, this means that if there is a human contribution, it cannot be distinguished from natural climate variability.

The report this year added analysis on new types of events including wildfires and Antarctic sea ice extent, and in one case looked at how land use patterns may influence the impacts and severity from precipitation.

Key findings for each of the assessed events include:

North America:

Overall probability of California wildfires has increased due to human-induced climate change, however, no specific link could be made for the 2014 fire event.

Though cold winters still occur in the upper Midwest, they are less likely due to climate change.

Cold temperatures along the eastern U.S. were not influenced by climate change, and eastern U.S. winter temperatures are becoming less variable.

Tropical cyclones that hit Hawaii were substantially more likely because of human-induced climate change.

Extreme 2013-14 winter storm season over much of North America was driven mainly by natural variability and not human caused climate change.

Human-induced climate change and land-use both played a role in the flooding that occurred in the southeastern Canadian Prairies.

Around the World:

South America

The Argentinean heat wave of December 2013 was made five times more likely because of human-induced climate change.

Water shortages in Southeast Brazil were not found to be largely influenced by climate change, but increasing population and water consumption raised vulnerability.

Europe

All-time record number of storms over the British Isles in winter 2013-14 cannot be linked directly to human-induced warming of the tropical west Pacific.

Extreme rainfall in the United Kingdom during the winter of 2013-2014 was not linked to human-caused climate change.

Hurricane Gonzolo was within historical range of strength for hurricanes transitioning to extratropical storms over Europe.

Extreme rainfall in southern France was three times more likely than in 1950 due to climate change.

Human influence increased the probability of record annual mean warmth over Europe, NE Pacific, and NW Atlantic.

Middle East and Africa

Two studies showed that the drought in East Africa was made more severe because of climate change.

The role of climate change in the Middle East drought of 2014 remains unclear. One study showed a role in the southern Levant region of Syria, while another study, which looked more broadly at the Middle East, did not find a climate change influence.

Asia

Extreme heat events in Korea and China were linked to human-caused climate change.

Drought in northeastern Asia, China and Singapore could not conclusively be linked to climate change.

The high west Pacific tropical cyclone activity in 2014 was largely driven by natural variability.

Devastating 2014 floods in Jakarta are becoming more likely due to climate change and other human influences.

Meteorological drivers that led to the extreme Himalayan snowstorm of 2014 have increased in likelihood due to climate change.

Human influence increased the probability of regional high sea surface temperature extremes over the western tropical and northeast Pacific Ocean during 2014.

Australia

Four independent studies all pointed toward human influence causing a substantial increase in the likelihood and severity of heat waves across Australia in 2014.

It is likely that human influences on climate increased the odds of the extreme high pressure anomalies south of Australia in August 2014 that were associated with frosts, lowland snowfalls and reduced rainfall.

The risk of an extreme five-day July rainfall event over Northland, New Zealand, such as was observed in early July 2014, has likely increased due to human influences on climate.

Antarctica

All-time maximum of Antarctic sea ice in 2014 resulted chiefly from anomalous winds that transported cold air masses away from the Antarctic continent, enhancing thermodynamic sea ice production far offshore. This type of event is becoming less likely because of climate change.

The full report is at this link: http://goo.gl/…

(CZ/AG)

Comments

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NATHAN CHESTER
11/18/2015 | 9:43 AM CST
Everything is due to climate change. Every time I read articles like this, they make it sound like we never had issues with weather before 1988. I never had issues with weather before 1977. That was when I was born.
TOM DRAPER
11/13/2015 | 7:43 AM CST
Thanks, Bryce, for giving us this information that we may otherwise not see when you know you're going to catch some flak. While its hard to argue with the science of the climate change debate, a quick read across DTN shows that science is a moving target in some cases. Apparently glyphosate causes cancer here in the U.S. but not in Europe. John Harrington's article about dietary fat shows how hard it is to predict the future. Maybe some day common sense will win out over politics.
Unknown
11/12/2015 | 10:19 AM CST
You made sure the Antarctica information was at the very end of the summary of a NOAA report. I suppose they think people wont read the whole thing. You would think All-time maximum of Antarctic sea ice in 2014 would be the headline.
LeeFarms
11/12/2015 | 8:48 AM CST
I have to agree with Curt's last comment. China is clearly a major problem. I doubt the US at it's worst was anywhere close to China's pollution. A recent article noted that Chinese coal use is probably 15% higher than previous reports. Many of these weather events referenced above have their origin in the Pacific Ocean. If you have ever seen that big smog cloud moving out over the Pacific Ocean from China, it is hard to believe that hasn't had an affect on trapping heat and creating problems with Pacific Ocean characteristics. By the way, India isn't a saint either. Paul Overby
Curt Zingula
11/12/2015 | 6:51 AM CST
In the not to distant future, liberals will look back upon the deal Obama struck with the Chinese for carbon emissions and say why the heck did we support a dumb a_ _ that allowed them to double emissions by the year 2030 before cutting back? That would be the few liberals that have a spark of common sense and honesty. The little amount of carbon sequestration that B.O. will limit in the U.S. compared to China's output is like spitting into the wind.
Jay Mcginnis
11/11/2015 | 6:31 AM CST
Thank you Bryce for your scientifically accurate reports on the climate. It is strange to live in the modern world and still have large groups of people not accept reality especially such a simple reality of climate change which can be recorded by thermometers and carbon concentrations in the atmosphere. Historians will look back on this era in disbelief that not only people denied climate change but believed that the pyramids in Egypt were built to store grain. Future scientists I am sure will be wondering why an entire section of society broke away into a fantasy land thought pattern despite the facts were in their face. Maybe it is our diet, possibly the effects from lead paint? However the future scientists will read reports like the one above and realize that some people recorded "just the facts" and understood the relationship of human activity and its implication in the climate.
bbob
11/11/2015 | 6:25 AM CST
This kind of stupid stuff is where Trump gets his support from... I think it is part of a liberal stupid test... Liberals act smart by making up parameters that define what climate change is, and make up links to weather events, and then have guys like Bruce run their STUPID TESTS to see how many people buy into it!!!
Curt Zingula
11/11/2015 | 6:03 AM CST
I get so sick and tired of having disasters crammed down my throat as if there are no benefits from climate change, anthropogenic or otherwise. But at least this article is no where as STUPID as the EPA's social media event last Feb. (when Boston was setting record snowfall) that claimed we must stop climate change so our Olympic athletes will have snow to practice on. But I expect the EPA's stupidity to be exceeded, soon!
BD, NE LA.
11/10/2015 | 6:58 PM CST
Wonder if we will get a break from this kind of irrational science when Obama blessedly leaves office? Hope so!