Earth & Climate

Stanford scientist uncovers the impact of global warming on extreme weather occasions has been often underestimated

A new Stanford study uncovers that a common scientific methodology of anticipating the probability of future extraordinary weather occasions by examining how as often as possible they happened in the past can lead to significant underestimates – with conceivably huge ramifications for individuals’ lives.

Stanford climate researcher Noah Diffenbaugh found that expectations that depended uniquely on historical perceptions underestimated by about half the actual number of amazingly hot days in Europe and East Asia, and the quantity of very wet days in the U.S., Europe, and East Asia.

The paper, published March 18 in Science Advances, illustrates how even small increments in global warming can cause huge upticks in the likelihood of extraordinary weather occasions, especially heatwaves and heavy rainfall. The new outcomes breaking down climate change associations with exceptional climate occasions could assist with making global hazard management more effective.

“We are seeing year after year how the rising incidence of extreme events is causing significant impacts on people and ecosystems,” Diffenbaugh said. “One of the main challenges in becoming more resilient to these extremes is accurately predicting how the global warming that’s already happened has changed the odds of events that fall outside of our historical experience.”

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