Thursday, March 27, 2014

Evidence for human-induced climate change grows as 2013 is revealed as the sixth-hottest on record

[The Independent] by Steve Connor
No single weather event can prove or disprove climate change, but in its review of 2013 the world’s leading meteorological authority suggests that many of last year’s weather extremes are likely to have been heavily influenced by rising global temperatures.
In some ways 2013 was a typical year for the global weather. Heatwaves, cold snaps, violent storms, droughts and floods all played their part in shaping 2013 – as they do every year – but there is growing evidence that human activities are making weather extremes more frequent or extreme, the World Meteorological Authority has concluded.
Some of the strongest tropical cyclones to hit land were seen in 2013, notably Typhoon Haiyan which devastated parts of the central Philippines, and Cyclone Phailin, the second strongest tropical cyclone to strike India since modern records began, resulting in the evacuation of 1.1 million people from coastal areas.
Australia and Argentina sweltered under record or near-record temperatures in the southern hemisphere, while a “blocked” jet stream in the northern hemisphere – possibly influenced by the dramatic melting of the sea ice in the Arctic – brought a bitterly cold spring to Britain and heavy rainfall and floods to central Europe.
“Many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change,” said Michel Jarraud the secretary-general of the WMO, a United Nations body.
“Naturally occurring phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or El Nino or La Nina events have always contributed to frame our climate, influenced temperatures or caused disasters like droughts and flood,” Dr Jarraud said. Read More