Climate Change is Driving Natural Disasters
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Vox Reports: Why we’re more confident than ever that climate change is driving disasters
For years, scientists have warned us that climate change has driven natural disasters. But now, In 2020, scientists have ample data showing how climate change affects the frequency and likelihood of heat waves, ocean heat waves, droughts, and intense storms.
That has risen alongside a growing public awareness of how climate change is playing out. A 2019 Pew Research poll found that 62 percent of Americans said climate change was impacting their local community. CBS News reported that a majority of Americans now believe climate change is contributing to extreme weather.
While long-term global warming is not the direct "cause" of massive wildfires and hurricanes, it does impact how intense these events are and the frequency at which they occur. Scientists now have more certainty about this, thanks to a field known as extreme-event attribution.
Here, scientists construct models to evaluate the counterfactual of what would have happened in a certain event without climate change and compare it to observed results.
Scientists working in this field acknowledge that for phenomena as complicated as wildfires and hurricanes, there are many other factors at play. That includes natural variability from climate cycles like El Niño, as well as policy decisions like the suppression of naturally occurring wildfires and allowing forest fuel to accumulate.
We need to ensure that all Americans understand the consequences of climate change.
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