New Science Links Specific Weather Events to Climate Change

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Photo: Storm clouds over the Rockies (AP Photo)
Storm clouds pass over the Front Range of the Rockies, seen from Denver, in June 2014.

Photo: Storm clouds over the Rockies (AP Photo)For as long as scientists have been studying climate change, they’ve often been reluctant to say any specific weather events happen because of global warming. Two researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration headquarters in Boulder tell Colorado Matters that’s changing. Stephanie Herring and Marty Hoerling are editors of a report earlier this year in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The difference between weather and climate is climate refers to big-picture, long-term trends, while when we talk about weather we mean specific events like a rainstorm or a heat wave. At least when it comes to heat, the reason for the new certainty is running models which show heat of this extent would not have been possible. Things like precipitation events are still much more difficult to make that connection.