Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The PBS on-demand streaming service, WPBS Passport, is now available in Canada! Learn More

HomeVideoDoes Climate Change Cause Extreme Weather?

Does Climate Change Cause Extreme Weather?

What role does climate change play in extreme weather?

TEACHERS: Get your students in the discussion on KQED Learn, a safe place for middle and high school students to investigate controversial topics and share their voices.

Fluctuations in weather happen all the time. But sometimes, those fluctuations can get extreme, making disasters like hurricanes and heatwaves more intense. What role does climate change play in extreme weather?

ABOVE THE NOISE is a show that cuts through the hype and investigates the research behind controversial and trending topics in the news. Hosted by Myles Bess and Shirin Ghaffary.


SUBSCRIBE by clicking the RED BUTTON above.
Follow us on Instagram @kqedabovethenoise

Extreme weather is on the rise. A recent study found that worldwide, there were almost two and half times more extreme weather events in the first decade of this century than in the 1980s. To tease out the relationship between climate change and extreme weather, scientists use something called attribution science. This technique breaks down how much climate change influenced the event versus normal variations in weather. To do this successfully, researchers use climate models. They’re basically computer programs that simulate how the Earth’s climate will change over time. Essentially, 2 models are created. Model 1 — the world without humans burning fossil fuels. And model 2, a world like ours now, where we do burn fossil fuels.

In general, climate change models can’t tell us if climate change is the cause of any particular extreme weather event, but they do indicate that climate change is making those events more severe. Climate change is causing higher sea levels and warmer waters, and that’s leading to stronger hurricanes and heavier rainfall. Going forward, the overwhelming scientific consensus is that if climate change continues at its current rate, extreme weather will only get more extreme.

What is extreme weather?
Extreme weather is when a weather event is significantly different from the average or usual weather pattern.

What is climate change?
A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

What is climate attribution science?
The effort to scientifically demonstrate which mechanisms are responsible for observed changes in the Earth’s climate.

Natural Disasters, Armed Conflict, and Public Health

Liability for Climate Change

Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming

How We Use Climate Models

National Climate Change Assessment Report

KQED Learn
KQED Teach
KQED Education

About KQED
KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, Radio, and web media. Funding for Above the Noise is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Silver Giving Foundation, Stuart Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.