Researchers use CSC systems to investigate causes of CA drought

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Scientists find human-caused link to heat wave, but ties to drought and heavy rains elude them (E&E News)

By Gayathri Vaidyanathan and Elizabeth Harball

September 30, 2014

Blistering heat waves recorded around the globe in 2013 were linked to human-caused global warming, according to a broad survey of studies on extreme weather events published yesterday.

But the studies could not link climate change as clearly to heavy rainfall, droughts and storms. For instance, the link between the three-year-long California drought and climate change remains to be deciphered by future research.

The studies are from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-led effort to explain the role of climate change in 16 extreme weather events in the United States and elsewhere. This is the third year for the "attribution" studies, which were published yesterday in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

One study, led by Chris Funk of the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of California, Santa Barbara's Climate Hazard Group, looked at long-term warming of the sea surface in the North Pacific. Using climatic models, the researchers did not find a strong link between a steadily warming ocean and the atmospheric conditions leading to the lack of precipitation.