Extreme Weather

Flooded Farm: Australia
Flooded Farm: Australia: Feb 2012

Record weather events are now common

First, here are a few examples of this extreme weather.

Record heat

Pretty much every year and every month is now either “one of the hottest on record” or “breaking the record”. For example, last month, March 2019: Australia swelters through the warmest March on record.

We see these extremes right around the planet. For example, in February 2019, the UK has seen record-breaking high winter temperatures and a series of wildfires.

Powerful storms

Mozambique was hit by one of the strongest cyclones ever to hit mainland Africa. Storms are growing more powerful as a result of climate change. (New Scientist: 26 April 2019)

Amazing rains

Townsville Australia 2019 flood: Up to 300,000 cattle die in western Queensland.


Record-breaking heat and fires are worsened by climate change. Californian wildfires destroy hundreds of homes.

Climate change is increasing the probability of these events

We are seeing many extreme weather events. Increasingly, it is clear that climate change is increasing the probability of these extreme events.

Extreme weather: What’s climate got to do with it.
World Resources Institute: 18 Sep 2017

The US National Climate Assessment (2014)

The National Climate Assessment (2014) summarises the impacts of climate change on the United States. It was produced and reviewed by a large, authoritative team involving several US federal agencies and the US National Academy of Sciences.

Their findings on extreme weather should also be relevant beyond the US.

They write that human-caused climate change has increased the number and strength of some extreme weather events in the USA over the last 50 years.

Global warming has led to:

  • more severe heat waves and droughts with our plants, soils and air losing more moisture in higher temperatures, and
  • more severe rains and floods as a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour

Extreme weather is increasing the number of billion-dollar disasters. Their website provides details of these extreme weather events.

The Fourth US National Climate Assessment (November 2018) made similar findings.

Updated 29 April 2019

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