Climate change made some extreme weather more likely in 2014, feds say

A new federal study stopped short of directly linking extreme weather last year to climate change, but said that it made certain weather events much more likely.

In North America, that included extreme wildfires in California, tropical cyclones in Hawaii and mild winter in the Midwest, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Other weather events, like California’s drought, extreme cold in the eastern United States and the heavy winter storm season of 2013-2104 were not linked to climate change, the agency found in a joint study with experts in the United Kingdom.

Nonetheless, the research should serve to demonstrate the effects of human-induced climate change and how it makes certain weather events more likely, the experts said.

“As the science of event attribution continues to advance, so too will our ability to detect and distinguish the effects of long-term climate change and natural variability on individual extreme events,” Tom Karl, head of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said in a statement.

“Until this is fully realized, communities would be well-served to look beyond the range of past extreme events to guide future resiliency efforts.”

Stephanie Herring, the report’s lead editor, said “understanding our influence on specific extreme weather events is groundbreaking science that will help us adapt to climate change.”