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Nikolaos Christidis and Peter A. Stott
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Nikolaos Christidis and Peter A. Stott
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Nikolaos Christidis and Peter A. Stott
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Nikolaos Christidis, Richard A. Betts, and Peter A. Stott
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Thomas C. Peterson, Peter A. Stott, and Stephanie Herring

Attribution of extreme events shortly after their occurrence stretches the current state-of-theart of climate change assessment. To help foster the growth of this science, this article illustrates some approaches to answering questions about the role of human factors, and the relative role of different natural factors, for six specific extreme weather or climate events of 2011.

Not every event is linked to climate change. The rainfall associated with the devastating Thailand floods can be explained by climate variability. But long-term warming played a part in the others. While La Niña contributed to the failure of the rains in the Horn of Africa, an increased frequency of such droughts there was linked to warming in the Western Pacific– Indian Ocean warm pool. Europe's record warm temperatures would probably not have been as unusual if the high temperatures had been caused only by the atmospheric flow regime without any long-term warming.

Calculating how the odds of a particular extreme event have changed provides a means of quantifying the influence of climate change on the event. The heatwave that affected Texas has become distinctly more likely than 40 years ago. In the same vein, the likelihood of very warm November temperatures in the UK has increased substantially since the 1960s.

Comparing climate model simulations with and without human factors shows that the cold UK winter of 2010/2011 has become about half as likely as a result of human influence on climate, illustrating that some extreme events are becoming less likely due to climate change.

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Nikolaos Christidis, Kasemsan Manomaiphiboon, Andrew Ciavarella, and Peter A. Stott
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Nikolaos Christidis, Mark McCarthy, Andrew Ciavarella, and Peter A. Stott
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Lianchun Song, Siyan Dong, Ying Sun, Guoyu Ren, Botao Zhou, and Peter A. Stott
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Stephanie C. Herring, Martin P. Hoerling, James P. Kossin, Thomas C. Peterson, and Peter A. Stott

Editors note: For easy download the posted pdf of the Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 is a very low-resolution file. A high-resolution copy of the report is available by clicking here. Please be patient as it may take a few minutes for the high-resolution file to download.

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Stephanie C. Herring, Martin P. Hoerling, James P. Kossin, Thomas C. Peterson, and Peter A. Stott
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