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Cost of extreme weather due to climate change is severely underestimated

County Sustainability Group

Over the past decade, a compelling body of evidence has linked a range of extreme weather events to human-caused climate change

Aerial view of flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, on 31 August 2017. Credit: UPI / Alamy Stock Photo.

This area of research – known as “event attribution” – provides a means for climate scientists to examine how the severity and frequency of weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts and storms, are changing as greenhouse gas concentrations rise.

In a pair of new journal papers, we have attempted to open up a new avenue for quantifying the “attributable costs” of weather-related disasters. We focus on recent droughts and floods in New Zealand and the landfall of Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017.

Using event attribution as the scientific basis for quantifying how extreme weather has changed, we have been examining the links…

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