Scientists Just Linked Another Record-Breaking Weather Event to Climate Change

This graph shows the relative contribution of El Niño (green bars) versus global warming (red bar) for the 15 hottest Aprils on record in mainland Southeast Asia. Kaustubh Thirumalai.

Last year, a remarkable April heat wave shattered all-time temperature records across Southeast Asia, prompting public health concerns, killing at least one elephant and making international headlines. Now, scientists believe the event was driven by the combined influence of a strong El Niño event and human-caused climate change. And they say events like it will only become more common in the future.

new study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, finds that the 2016 April extreme can be attributed about 49 percent to the influence of a severe El Niño event, which began in 2015 and lingered into the following year, with global warming accounting for another 29 percent, and the rest attributed to unknown factors. But the researchers note that the impact of global warming is catching up and may become stronger than that of El Niño in the future.

The Washington Post, June 6, 2017

The National Science Foundation, June 6, 2017

The Weather Channel, June 7, 2017

South China Morning Post, June 7, 2017



Featuring: Kaustubh Thhirumalai, Ph.D. student, Jackson School of Geosciences