There has been renewed talk in recent weeks about whether this summer’s scattering of extreme weather events is linked to anthropogenic climate change.
True, humans have altered the radiatively active portions of the atmosphere by adding greenhouse gases and aerosols. We’ve also altered the planetary landscape. These alterations are now part of the integrated global climate system that produces daily weather events—both extreme and benign.
So can our influence change the intensity of weather events? Yes.
Can it cause an event to happen that otherwise wouldn’t have? Conceivably.
Does it always act to make the weather more severe? No.
Are the changes detectable? Hmmm.
It seems that it is this issue of detectability that we often get hung up on. Otherwise, how do we know that human changes are having any impact?…