Emergence of heat extremes attributable to anthropogenic influences

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Abstract

Climate scientists have demonstrated that a substantial fraction of the probability of numerous recent extreme events may be attributed to human-induced climate change. However, it is likely that for temperature extremes occurring over previous decades a fraction of their probability was attributable to anthropogenic influences. We identify the first record-breaking warm summers and years for which a discernible contribution can be attributed to human influence. We find a significant human contribution to the probability of record-breaking global temperature events as early as the 1930s. Since then, all the last 16 record-breaking hot years globally had an anthropogenic contribution to their probability of occurrence. Aerosol-induced cooling delays the timing of a significant human contribution to record-breaking events in some regions. Without human-induced climate change recent hot summers and years would be very unlikely to have occurred.

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