“Scientists are frequently asked about an event ‘Is it caused by climate change?’ The answer is that no events are ’caused by climate change’ or global warming, but all events have a contribution. The answer is that all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.” –Dr Kevin Trenberth

Weather and climate are different, but connected. The planet has always had severe weather: floods, droughts, storms, and more. But what climatologists have said is that as we burn fossil fuel and pour carbon into the atmosphere, we raise the odds of these kind of wild, damaging events. And indeed, we are seeing distinct trends and records set for nearly every type of extreme weather: high temperatures get higher, rainfalls set new records, droughts get deeper, wildfires burn more acres. It’s not just scientists who say this, either. The people in our economy whose job it is to analyze risk—insurance companies—are saying precisely the same thing. Munich Re, the largest insurance company on earth said in December of 2010 that the only plausible explanation for the increase in severe weather events was rapid global warming. We’re putting dots on the map all over the world, places that have felt the sting of extreme weather. When you connect those dots, what you see is climate change. Read on for the clear trends and record-breaking examples connecting extreme weather and climate change. Sources
  • Munich Re website
  • “Attribution of climate variations and trends to human influences and natural variability”, Dr. Kevin Trenberth, 2011
Key reports and partners If you’re eager to dive deeper into credible scientific data to find out more about a particular impact, here’s a list of sources we recommend:
  • Climate Nexus
  • Climate Central
  • Climate Reality Project
  • TckTckTck Climate Impacts
  • Climate Hot Map
  • Daily Climate
  • Dr. Jeff Masters’ Blog
  • Skeptical Science
  • The IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events and Climate Change
  • A Decade of Extreme Weather, Potsdam Institute
  • National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
  • Scientific American
  • NOAA Extreme Weather 2011
  • Earth Hour City Challenge