It’s not easy to attribute a single weather event to climate change. But when you start seeing these events happening more frequently, it becomes more unambiguous. — Gary Lackmann, a professor of atmospheric science at North Carolina State University
It’s not easy to attribute a single weather event to climate change. But when you start seeing these events happening more frequently, it becomes more unambiguous. — Gary Lackmann, a professor of atmospheric science at North Carolina State University
The Tennessee Flooding: What Role Does Climate Change Play?
In the past 48 hours, parts of Tennessee have been swept by record-breaking rainfall and unexpected flash flooding that has killed at least 21 people and left dozens missing.

“This is exactly the type of event we expect to see with increasing frequency in a warming climate,” said Gary Lackmann, a professor of atmospheric science at North Carolina State University.

... One reason the Tennessee flood was so deadly is that it was the type of small-scale storm that can challenge forecasting tools.

Smaller-scale storms can be trickier to forecast than large-scale weather systems like hurricanes, which rely in part on radar and satellite data. Any heavy rainfall, which produces heat, can cause the forecasting models to perform poorly.

“It’s sort of a worst-case scenario because it’s a small weather system that happens and develops quickly,” Dr. Lackmann said. “For these kinds of events, it’s going to be really difficult to get much lead time or forecast warning.”

And attribution studies — a type of research that aims to establish links between climate change and specific extreme weather events — can take some time.

“It’s not easy to attribute a single weather event to climate change,” Dr. Lackmann said. But, he added, “when you start seeing these events happening more frequently, it becomes more unambiguous.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/23/climate/climate-change-tennessee-floods.html