The findings upend the idea that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change.
Jan. 2, 2020 at 11:27 p.m. GMT
For the first time, scientists have detected the “fingerprint” of human-induced climate change on daily weather patterns at the global scale. If verified by subsequent work, the findings, published Thursday in Nature Climate Change, would upend the long-established narrative that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change.
The study’s results also imply that research aimed at assessing the human role in contributing to extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods may be underestimating the contribution.
The new study, which was motivated in part by President Trump’s tweetsabout how a cold day in one particular location disproves global warming, uses statistical techniques and climate model simulations to evaluate how daily temperatures and humidity vary around the world. Scientists compared the spatial patterns of these variables with what physical science shows is expected because of climate change.
The study concludes that the spatial patterns of global temperature and humidity are, in fact, distinguishable from natural variability, and have a human component to them. Going further, the study concludes that the long-term climate trend in global average temperature can be predicted if you know a single day’s weather information worldwide.
Study co-author Reto Knutti, of ETH Zurich, said the research alters what we can say about how weather and climate change are connected.
“We’ve always said when you look at weather, that’s not the same as climate,” he said. “That’s still true locally; if you are in one particular place and you only know the weather right now, right here, there isn’t much you can say.”
However, on a global scale, that is no longer true, Knutti said. “Global mean temperature on a single day is already quite a bit shifted.[…]
Read More: Everyday weather is linked to human-caused climate change in new study
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