2019 closed a decade in which the Earth’s temperature reached exceptionally high levels, contributing to the melting of glaciers and rising seas, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Temperature extremes were recorded around the world, including unusually hot summers in most of South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, as well as unusually cold temperatures in parts of North America.
Accompanying such extreme temperatures are erratic weather patterns — torrential rainfall, prolonged drought, severe hailstorms, record-breaking hurricanes, and other extreme weather events all increasingly associated with climate change.
These transformations are largely the consequence of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, which exceeded 407.8 parts per million in 2018, and are on pace to increase in 2020. (Here are 25 countries that produce the most CO2 emissions).
In recent decades, a new branch of climate research has emerged that attempts to define the link between human activities and extreme weather events such as floods, heat waves, droughts, and snowstorms. According to climate journalism site Carbon Brief, scientists concluded in 68% of the more than 230 extreme weather events they studied that human-caused climate change increased the likelihood or severity of the event.
24/7 Wall St. concentrated on recent weather events recorded in the United States. We reviewed regions where there is mounting evidence of an association between climate change and recent extreme weather events. Places within each region have recently documented record-breaking climate or weather events.