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NYT reveals how climate ‘attribution’ is tool to silence ‘denialists’: ‘Goal is to publicize any climate connection quickly, in part to thwart climate denialists’


By Henry Fountain (Fountain covers climate change for NYT)

Climate Change Drove Western Heat Wave’s Extreme Records, Analysis Finds

A rapid analysis of last week’s record-breaking heat found that it would have been virtually impossible without the influence of human-caused climate change.

The extraordinary heat wave that scorched the Pacific Northwest last week would almost certainly not have occurred without global warming, an international team of climate researchers said Wednesday.

Temperatures were so extreme — including readings of 116 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland, Ore., and a Canadian record of 121 in British Columbia — that the researchers had difficulty saying just how rare the heat wave was. But they estimated that in any given year there was only a 0.1 percent chance of such an intense heat wave occurring.

“Although it was a rare event, it would have been virtually impossible without climate change,” said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, who conducted the study with 26 other scientists, part of a collaborative group called World Weather Attribution.

If the world warms another 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which could occur this century barring drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, similar events would not be so rare, the researchers found. The chances of such a severe heat wave occurring somewhere in the world would increase to as much as 20 percent in a given year.

“For heat waves, climate change is an absolute game changer,” said Friederike Otto, of Oxford University in England, one of the researchers.Climate Fwd  A new administration, an ongoing climate emergency — and a ton of news. Our newsletter will help you stay on top of it. Get it.

The study is the latest in a growing body of research termed “rapid attribution” analysis, which aims to establish if there is a link between climate change and specific extreme events like heat waves, heavy rain storms and flooding. The goal is to publicize any climate connection quickly, in part to thwart climate denialists who might claim that global warming had no impact on a particular event.

The study, which took a little more than a week, is not yet peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal. But it uses techniques that have been peer-reviewed before over the decade that these kinds of studies have been done. World Weather Attribution itself has completed about 30 of them since 2015.

Essentially the research uses computer simulations, 21 in all for this analysis, to compare what happens in the existing world, which has warmed about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the rise of industry and its accompanying emissions, to a hypothetical world in which humans had never pumped any greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Climate scientists are certain that global warming has made heat waves worse, because the baseline temperatures from which they begin are higher than they were decades ago. Rapid attribution analysis attempts to answer two questions about a specific heat event: how much worse, and how much more likely, did climate change make it?

For the Pacific Northwest heat wave, the analysis showed that, even though rare, it was far more likely to occur in the current warmed world than in a world without warming. And if the heat wave had occurred in such a hypothetical world, it would not have been as hot, with maximum temperatures about 3.5 degrees lower.


Related Links:

USA Heatwave reality check: Global temps below 30-year avg & ‘75% of the states recorded their hottest temperature prior to 1955’ – Worst U.S. heat waves happened in 1930s

Climate Skeptics turn tables on ‘attribution’ studies – Ask: Is ‘global warming’ causing a decrease in ‘extreme weather’ events?

‘Massive failure’: ‘Hansen/NASA models are no better than a Ouija board as a tool to predict global temperatures’

NY Times Claims ‘Climate Change’ Behind Western Heatwave Using ‘Rapid Attribution’ Study – Physicist Koonin rebuts: ‘It’s like a spiritual adviser who claims his influence helped you win the lottery — after you’ve already won it’

‘Massive failure’: ‘Hansen/NASA models are no better than a Ouija board as a tool to predict global temperatures’

Climate event attribution research being used as stealth advocacy – ‘Can be used to help people sue greenhouse gas emitters’ & getting govt’s ‘to start changing their policies’

Sen Schumer goes full witchcraft: ‘If We Would Do More on Climate Change, We’d Have Fewer of These Hurricanes’

Climate Expert: Attribution Science Was Designed To Bolster Climate Lawsuits

No, The West Coast Heat Wave Has Nothing To Do With Climate Change – Media hypes ‘fantasy land of complex & unproven attribution models’

Morano on heatwaves: ‘Every single weather event is now more of a reason to push the Green New Deal…using weather to lobby’ for policies

Shellenberger: The Real Reason They Blame Heat Deaths, Blackouts, & Forest Fires on Climate Change Is Because — They’re Causing Them Is it a coincidence that those who say civilization is unsustainable are making it so?

The Tropics just logged its Second-Coldest Temperature in History, as ALL-TIME Record Cold sweeps South America

Global Warming Is Actually Sparing Lives …Cold Kills 17 Times More Than Heat, According To Lancet!

Earth Still Much Colder Than Optimum, Science Shows…Lives Can Be Saved By More Warming – ‘Comparatively few people die from heat. Cold is the real killer’

Record Summer Chills sweep the U.U., as Sub-Polar Cold hits Africa–threatening ‘an Acute Maize Shortage’ – Northwest’s heatwave is the anomaly here, not the norm.

The Truth About Heat Waves: ‘Media is promoting misinformation’