What Summer Weather Was Like The Year You Were Born

The latest assessment of climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body, cited the growing field of attribution science in stating unequivocally that global warming had led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

Heidi Cullen, who as director of communications at Climate Central, a research group in Princeton, N.J., was involved in the formation of World Weather Attribution, said that before such analyses became prevalent, “there was this whole mantra among scientists that you cannot attribute an individual event to climate change.”

The group’s work changed that, said Dr. Cullen, who is now director of communications and strategic initiatives at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California. Their studies showed, among other things, the influence of climate change in the extreme rainfall of Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017; in flooding in France and Louisiana in 2016; and in the severe Australian wildfires of 2019 and 2020.

So-called attribution analyses had been done before. But because they involved running computer models and were subject to extensive peer review by independent experts, they took time and were usually published a year or two after the weather event in question. The goal of Dr. van Oldenborgh and his colleagues was to find a link to climate change — or not, as was occasionally the case — when the disaster was still fresh in the public’s mind.

To do that, they used models that had already been run, a process Dr. van Oldenborgh described in 2016 as “precooking everything that we can.” They also released their studies before they were peer reviewed and published in scientific journals, arguing that the basic techniques that were used had previously been found valid by experts.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/22/climate/geert-jan-van-oldenborgh-dead.html

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