The Record Heat From 2016 Happened Due to Climate Change

Human-made activities from 2016 determined the record heat and the terrible heatwaves which have affected numerous areas of the globe. The new study reveals once again the devastating effect of human activities. Human-made climate change triggered global average temperatures to increase. Researchers indicate that the devastating heat wave which affected Asia in 2016 and the warming of ocean waters in Alaska have one thing in common.

Neither of these two disasters would have been possible without the high levels of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere via human-made activities. By developing many industries and plants, we have pumped an immense amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, affecting the entire planet. The greenhouse gas accumulation trapped the heat coming from the sun, triggering disastrous climate change effects.

Humans influenced the occurrence of the 2016 record heat

The sea level rise boosted even more, and the average temperatures worldwide have increased. Every human activity from the last century, which implied the use of fossil fuels lead to the unbearable record heat from last year. Researchers have indicated that 2016 was the warmest year on record at a global level. The climate change effects have become even harsher due to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The results of the study highlighted the annual report on the role of climate change in extreme weather events developed by the American Meteorological Society. This report was published on December 13. Five of their previous editions revealed research proving that climate change triggered numerous storms, droughts, and heatwaves. All these weather phenomena became more severe.

However, those previous records did not indicate that these weather events would not have taken place without the contribution of climate change. Jedd Rosenfeld is the editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. He argues that the new study highlights the fact that some unusual weather events have started becoming the rule. Now, these new weather extremes will become the norm.

The American Meteorological Society’s new report included 27 peer-reviewed studies. All these studies have analyzed extreme weather events which have occurred all over the world in 2016. Scientists indicate that 21 out of 27 studies have found that climate change plays an important role in the new record heat. Furthermore, they have also revealed that El Nino also contributed to the warming of Pacific waters and other extreme weather events in 2016.

The report comprises 27 studies

Those 27 studies had a common conclusion. Human-determined warming had dramatically increased the risk of drought, coral bleaching, wildfires, marine heat, frost, heavy precipitation and heat waves. All these disasters have turned some parts of the planet into a hell where high temperatures and increased humidity made the air unbreathable. In China, cold weather was less likely because of global warming.

However, scientists have also spotted some weather events which did not seem to be related to climate change. On this list of weather events, scientists have listed a marine heat in the eastern Pacific, a drought in Brazil and a winter storm in the eastern U.S. The new report was edited and compiled with the help of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the British government, and several universities.

The sun shining above a field of flowers

Human-made climate change has influence the likelihood of numerous extreme weather events in 2016.

Its results indicate that the weather events which affect the planet are exactly what climate models have long predicted. Greenhouse gas emissions that come from human activities will push extreme weather beyond the normal bounds of natural variability. These climate models indicate that these terrible weather events are more likely to appear first in areas which already warm very fast, including northern latitudes.

This annual report that talks about the record heat in 2016 also includes some studies which highlight the role of people in extreme weather events. The studies make use of a statistical approach. They examine the chances for an event to occur by looking at the current atmospheric and climate conditions. Then, they use climate models to get rid of human-determined changes. In this way, they are able to see the likelihood of certain weather events under natural conditions.

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Other studies

In a different study that was published on December 13, researchers affiliated with scientists from the group World Weather Attribution. This study analyzed the record rainfall that the Hurricane Harvey brought to Texas in August 2017. A weather station near Houston recorded over 51 inches of rain. The results of the study indicated that human-made climate change determined the hurricane’s extreme rainfall to be three times more likely, becoming 15% more intense.

Another study developed by Japanese researchers suggests that the record-breaking heat wave which affected southern Asia is the result of human-made global warming. Andrew King is the author of two of the reports, being a researcher at the University of Melbourne. He argues that all the studies comprised in the new report are conservative when it comes to their conclusions.

Researchers at the University of Alaska have developed one of the studies included in the report. They have discovered that in the Bering Sea, water temperatures were unprecedented. Natural variability triggered this extreme weather event, and the heat is the result of human determined climate change.

In 2017, numerous other studies have analyzed the impact climate change has on different ecosystems and species. A study revealed that warmer ocean water determined coral bleaching. Hence, in some parts of the Pacific Ocean specialists registered a drop in the number of seabirds and fish. However, the AMS report does not analyze this year’s extreme weather events, but it looked back to 2016.

Summing up

We are the only ones to blame for the record heat from 2016 together with other extreme weather events. The continuous use of fossil fuels in numerous plants, factories, and industries triggers a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The accumulation of all those toxic gases in the atmosphere does not only pollute the environment, but it also empowers climate change effects.

The high levels of greenhouse gas emissions trap the heat coming from the sun, increasing global average temperatures. This brings disastrous heat waves and sea level rises that have affected the entire planet.

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William E. Eubanks

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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