Science

Man-made climate change was the main driver of 2016’s global heat waves, says study

A recent study has revealed that human-driven climate change was the main reason behind the extreme weather conditions that prevailed in most part of the world in 2016. Last year, the earth saw record-breaking heat waves, high level of temperatures across Asia and unusually warm waters off the coast of Alaska due to marine heat wave called ‘the blob”.

The surprising thing is that, for the first time, scientists have blamed human activities directly as the sole cause those extreme weather conditions that happened due to climate change. In other words, it means that human-caused climate change led to these extreme weather events including global heat waves. Previously, human activities were not directly linked with any of the severe weather issues and were considered as part of those problems. That means, until now, human activities were considered to be one of the driving factors for climate change resulting in storms, heat waves, floods droughts, etc. But, for the first, time scientists have declared t human-driven climate change as the sole cause of particular extreme weather conditions. The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society published the report regarding the study.

During a press conference at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in New Orleans, Jeff Rosenfeld, the bulletin’s editor-in-chief, said, “This report marks a fundamental change. For years scientists have known humans are changing the risk of some extremes. But, finding multiple extreme events that weren’t even possible without human influence, makes clear that we’re experiencing new weather because we’ve made a new climate.” The study report consisted of 27 peer-reviewed analyses of extreme weather conditions across two oceans and five continents. A total of 116 scientists from 18 countries across the world contributed to this report and put their historical observations as well as model simulations forward. These observations and simulations were gathered together to find out whether climate change is the main contributing factor of those more than two dozen extreme weather events that took place in 2016.

The scientists found out that, out of those 16 papers, six papers did not blame climate change as a significant driver of extreme weather events. In 2016, global heat reached a record high, thus making it the warmest year in modern times. The report stated that these record average surface temperatures worldwide were “only possible due to substantial centennial-scale anthropogenic warming.”

Also, in 2016, El-Nino took place, which is defined as periodic warming in the eastern and central tropical Pacific waters. One of the reports of the study revealed that human-driven climate change worsened the El-Nino effect in the central equatorial Pacific Ocean, leading to drought and food scarcity in many parts of the world. Hence, from the study, it can be concluded that climate change and weather events are connected, and humans are now contributing more towards climate change by burning fossils and increasing the greenhouse gas emissions.

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