The human influence in Australia’s “angry” hot summer

28 June 2013

New research by scientists at the University of Melbourne and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science has found that human influences on the world’s climate are very likely to have played a role in the extreme weather experienced last summer, and that those influences have increased the likelihood of Australia experiencing record hot summers like this by more than five times.

Using a suite of state-of-the-art climate models together with climate observations from the past 100 years, the researchers were able to run parallel experiments comparing human and natural influences on the world’s climate.

One set of model simulations looked at temperature probabilities in a world that is affected by both natural and human influences like greenhouse gases, while the parallel set looked at a world that is affected by natural influences only, such as volcanoes and solar radiation changes.

The results showed that the world affected by both human and natural factors had a much higher increase in the probability of warmer summer temperatures compared to the world influenced only by natural factors.

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