From sweltering heatwaves, to devastating floods, the world has experienced a number of extreme weather events in recent years that have had a huge impact on people’s lives.
Experts at the Met Office – the UK’s national weather service – have said that “many factors can contribute to extreme weather events. Some of these are natural, but we can link others to climate change, driven by human activity.”
Later this year the UK will host a huge meeting called COP26, where leaders from all over the world will come together to discuss climate change, the effect it is having, and make commitments on how to reduce them.
Extreme weather and its effect on countries around the world will be a talking point at this year’s event.
So how do extreme weather events tell us more about how our climate is changing? And what can be done about it? To find out more visit the Newsround website:
Attribution studies is the name that weather experts give to the process of linking weather events to human-influenced climate change.
So far scientists have published more than 150 attribution studies looking at weather events around the world.
Here are some of the things the Met Office says it has discovered:
Heatwaves – Almost all studies on extreme heat events found that they are becoming more likely and more extreme because of climate change influenced by human actions. The Earth has warmed by about 1.2C already since pre-industrial levels – so that extra heat is added to every naturally-occurring heatwave.
Drought – About half of the studies on drought showed significant human influence.
Extreme rainfall (which can cause flooding) – Many factors contribute to flooding, but an increasing number of studies on extreme rainfall have found that a warming atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely.
Tropical storms and hurricanes – This one is complicated, according to the Met Office. There is strong evidence that warming sea temperatures increase the intensity of tropical storms. As well as this, rising sea levels also increase the risk of coastal flooding. However, there may be an overall decrease in the total number of global tropical cyclones.
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