Climate change: Warming signal links global floods and fires

BBC News Nov 2019

With homes under water in South Yorkshire, near record flooding in Venice, and burgeoning wildfires in Australia, many people are asking if and how climate change is connected to these extreme weather events.

“Sea level rise is rising globally and it is also rising in the Adriatic,” said Prof Gabi Hegerl, from the University of Edinburgh.

“Venice is also subsiding a bit, so you have a bit of a double whammy.

“The immediate flood has been caused by the Sirocco wind and the high tides but it wouldn’t have been as high without the sea having risen as well.”

Are there common climate factors in all these events?

Very much so, say the scientists.

“The overall climate signal is that if you have it warmer, it is easier to burn; if you have higher seas, it is easier to flood,” said Prof Gabi Hegerl.

“And if you have more moisture in the atmosphere, the same rainfall systems rain harder – that is something we see globally and that has a human greenhouse gas signal in it.

“In extreme events, that’s where climate change bites us.”