92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012: 4:15 PM
Does Attribution of Extreme Climate Events Matter?
Room 243 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Kristen Averyt, CIRES/Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and T. Wall

Evaluating the influence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions on observed climatic phenomena (attribution) has been a publicly contested and controversial topic as it relates to the outputs of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as other international and national climate assessments. Scientists engage in substantial efforts to evaluate and determine the human influence on changes in observed climate patterns, including frequency and intensity of extreme events such as floods, droughts, and storms. The amount of content and time dedicated to attribution in these assessments suggests that the scientific community may be inherently assuming that attribution of climatic change to anthropogenic activities is valuable and usable information for decision making. Here, we present an initial evaluation, based on interviews, of the importance to decision makers of attributing recent extreme events (e.g. Texas drought, Missouri floods) to anthropogenic climate change.

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