GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — It's important to separate weather and climate: Weather being the short term 'today' conditions we experience, and climate being long term trends over decades and centuries.
With more and more sophisticated computer models and our growing understanding of earth's climate, however, we're able to quantify more precisely the human impact on both climate and weather events.
We heard a lot about the recent heat waves in Europe, Alaska, and Greenland. Recently scientists did what's called a 'rapid attribution study' where we can separate out the impacts that generate a heat wave. Scientists calculated the recent European heat wave was on average 5 degrees warmer as a result of human-induced climate change, and 10 to 100 times more likely to occur.
Yes, we have always had heat waves (and cold spells) but heat waves are becoming hotter and more frequent. Now we're able to quantify it.
Here is a link to the full study.