Policy Update

First in Science: Report on 2016 Extreme Weather Confirms Human Impact on Climate



NCEL Point of Contact

Ava Gallo
Climate and Energy Program Manager


In December, scientists released a report that determined some extreme weather events from 2016 would not have been possible without human-caused climate change. The new report from the American Meteorological Society contains 27 peer-reviewed analyses of extreme weather events from across the world. Scientists have long documented that human activities are increasing the risks of extreme weather events. However this is the first time that scientists have determined certain extreme weather events were not possible without human influence making it clear we are creating a new climate.

The report breaks down results in a chart showing the type of extreme event and how humans influenced these events. The events only possible with human influence include global heat (2016 was again the hottest year on record), marine hotspots such as the one in the far-north Pacific Ocean, and the deadly heat wave in Asia. In addition, the report outlines other extreme weather events impacted by human activities such as wildfires and coral bleaching.