Extreme Weather
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Extreme weather

Extremes of weather take many forms. Some places are facing more and more intense rain. Others are experiencing drought more regularly. Hot weather records are being broken more often, whereas the incidence of record low temperatures is decreasing.

Two opposing manifestations of climate change in relation to water - drought and flood - in some ways seem to contradict each other. However, they demonstrate that what we are dealing with is disruption to our climate at extreme levels and in many ways.

On this page I'm going to look at some examples of weather extremes that are strong evidence of climate change.

Tracking extremes

This page from the UK Met Office explains how they study extreme weather events, to see if climate change was a cause. These attribution studies help shape their understanding of climate change and its impacts.

They also provide this Global Climate Extremes Dashboard that presents global indices of moderate temperature and precipitation extremes calculated from historical observations of temperature and rainfall. The chart is an example from the dashboard.

Changes in rainfall extremes

One of the analyses that can be accessed via the Met Office's Global Climate Extremes Dashboard relates to the number of very heavy rainfall days.

Data shown in the chart are global averages from observation-based data sets.

On a global average, we see that there has been an increase of an extra half-day (so one extra day every two years) where the rainfall was over 20mm. The change in the length of the longest set of consecutive wet days is only around 0.25 days, but the increase in the total annual precipitation is over 50mm since the beginning of the 20th century.