Understanding Extreme Weather in a Changing Climate

ClimaMeter is an experimental rapid framework for understanding extreme weather events in a changing climate based on looking at similar past weather situations. Find out more here and follow us on X

Low confidence prevents ascribing Dubai Floods changes in intensity to human-driven climate change

On April 16, 2024, an unprecedented outbreak of thunderstorms swept countries surrounding the Persian Gulf, following the development of a low-pressure system over central Saudi Arabia a day prior. This led to the formation of a significant storm complex, resulting in severe impacts across the region. The UAE bore the brunt of the storm, witnessing the largest recorded rainfall since 1949, with up to 254 mm falling in less than 24 hours in Al Ain. The city of Dubai and its international airport grappled with widespread disruption caused by the storm and accompanying straight-line winds. Flash floods inundated numerous areas, necessitating the rescue of stranded individuals. Despite anticipatory measures and forecasts, the storm tragically claimed the lives of at least 19 people.

ClimaMeter analysis shows that depressions similar to those behind the Dubai Floods exhibit slight increases in intensity, 1 °C warmer temperatures, and 3 mm/day less precipitation compared to historical counterparts. Our analysis also reveals that this type of events are marked by a seasonal shift in weather patterns, with historically rare occurrences now extending up to April, while previously occurring up to March. However, confidence in these findings is limited due to the exceptional nature of the event under scrutiny..

Image: Dubai Floods, source: twitter

Extreme Weather in Europe during Easter Weekend mostly strengthened by human driven climate change

Extreme weather conditions swept across Europe during the Easter Weekend, with events reminiscent of those observed in 2024 showing notable deviations from historical trends. Southern Europe was enveloped by Saharan dusts, enveloping regions from Italy to France, affecting air quality and visibility. Meanwhile, France experienced severe flooding, leading to evacuations and emergency responses.  The compound effects of climate change, highlighted by the IPCC AR6 WG2 report, are increasingly shaping extreme weather events in Europe, exacerbating risks to ecosystems and health.

These events, now characterized by deeper surface pressures, warmer temperatures up to 4 °C, increased precipitation by up to 13mm/day, and wind speeds up to 10 km/h higher along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, mark a departure from past patterns. Human-induced climate change emerges as a significant driver behind the intensified weather phenomena, with natural climate variability playing a minor role. Our analysis indicates a shift in the timing of these extreme events, with occurrences now more prevalent in February and March compared to historical patterns in April and May. As climate change continues to escalate, the frequency and intensity of such compound weather events are expected to rise, posing significant challenges to infrastructure, agriculture, and public health. Urgent adaptive measures and collaborative efforts across borders are emphasized as crucial strategies to mitigate the escalating threats posed by a changing climate.

Image:  EUMETSAT satellite visible channel image showing Saharan dusts over the Mediterranean and clouds over Western Europe

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