A NOAA-led report released September 5 by the Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society – entitled “Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective” – casts a pall on the effects of human influences on extreme weather and climate events.
Three of four lead editors on the report hailed from NOAA, and overall, 18 distinct research teams from across the globe offered their expert opinions as to the causes of 12 extreme events that transpired in the Arctic and on five continents.
The Associated Press reports that of the 12 wild weather events studied, researchers linked approximately half of the events to man-made climate change.
The report suggests that the effects of natural fluctuations in weather and climate played a key role in the development and intensity of many of the 2012 extreme events. However, in several events, the study found convincing evidence that manmade contributions to climate change was a secondary factor adding to the extreme weather event.
“This report adds to a growing ability of climate science to untangle the complexities of understanding natural and human-induced factors contributing to specific extreme weather and climate events,” said Thomas R. Karl, LHD, director of the National Climate Data Center. “Nonetheless, determining the causes of extreme events remains challenging.”