Record high temperatures in 2012 over large portions of central and eastern North America, which killed well over a hundred people and devastated crop yields locally and nationally, have been linked to climate change by a study recently published by the American Meteorological Society.
A team of scientists studying last year’s temperature extremes concluded that the heat wave was “inconsistent with natural variability” and “very likely attributable in part to anthropogenic forcing”, a.k.a. human influence. The report concluded that last year’s severe drought was a also contributing factor to the historic heatwave but was harder to conclusively attribute to climate change due to a highly variable “summer precipitation response to global warming”.
The report compiles results from 18 separate research teams investigating 12 of last year’s extreme weather events. “Approximately half the analyses found some evidence that anthropologically caused climate change was a contributing factor to the extreme event examined”, including Hurricane Sandy,which was responsible for over 60 billion dollars of damage along the east coast of the U.S. Researches expressed their concerns that both the intensity and frequency of major storms were likely to increase in a warming climate.