Why scientists are now more confident linking extreme weather and climate change

With every passing year, scientists grow more certain that climate change is behind many of today's extreme weather events. On this episode of “The Climate Crisis Podcast,” Yahoo News talks to UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain about the growing evidence for linking distinct weather events to rising global temperatures.

“Fifteen or 20 years ago, you might have heard very vehement sort of exhortations not to link specific weather events to climate change, and it was the climate scientists who were saying that,” Swain said.

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Since then, however, many things have changed. “One is that the climate has continued to change over the past couple of decades, continued to get warmer," Swain said. "And we now have a much longer observed reality of climate change and the subsequent increase and certain tie-ins to extreme events, to the point that it's now a lot clearer than it once was that there's a clear link to climate change, just on the basis of having more real-world data.” He added, “Another thing that’s changed is that our ability to model changes in climate and specifically the kinds of extreme events that we care about when we talk about this attribution kind of topic, you know, the hurricanes, the wildfires, the floods, the heat waves. Our ability to simulate these mathematically and physically has improved over that period as well. And there’s also just been a sort of a shift in the overall, I think, mentality surrounding the purported difference between weather and climate.”

In the episode, Swain goes on to discuss why climate change has led half the country to experience extreme drought while the other half experiences worsening flash flooding.


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