On The Radio – Attributing extreme weather to climate change

An aerial shot of the 2008 flood along the Iowa River in Iowa City. (Tom Jorgensen/University of Iowa Libraries)
An aerial shot of flooding along the Iowa River just south of the University of Iowa campus in 2008. (Tom Jorgensen/University of Iowa Libraries)
Nick Fetty | May 2, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment looks at a recent study that examines how climate change affects extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.


Transcript: Attributing extreme weather to climate change

Scientists are becoming increasingly confident attributing extreme weather events to human-caused climate change.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

A March study led by The National Academy of Sciences concludes that scientists are more able to determine how climate change affects the intensity and likelihood of some extreme weather events like floods and droughts. Extreme event attribution, a relatively new science according to the study, has made rapid advancements in the last ten years.

After extreme weather events like the record-breaking precipitation Iowans experienced in the winter of 2015, scientists are often asked if these events can be attributed to climate change. While few if any phenomena can be explained by climate change alone, scientists are now better able to determine how much of an effect climate change may have.

For more information about the study and climate modeling, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

NPR: “Ready — Or Not. Abrupt Climate Changes Worry Scientists Most”

Photo by Rob Baxter; Flickr


An expert panel at the National Academy of Sciences is calling for an early warning system to alert us to abrupt and potentially catastrophic events triggered by climate change.

The committee says science can anticipate some major changes to the Earth that could affect everything from agriculture to sea level. But we aren’t doing enough to look for those changes and anticipate their impacts.

To read more and to listen to the audio, head over to NPR.

The Power of Observation in Energy Saving

Photo by Will Foster; Flickr

The phenomenon that causes people being observed to react differently, the Hawthorne effect, was recently applied to energy conservation in a study by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.

The result of the study was that  households reduced monthly electric use by 2.7 percent on average when they were told their energy use would be monitored. Continue reading