Flooding in the state of North Carolina in the USA
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Germany had to deal with an extraordinary heat wave again this week.
Temperatures sometimes exceeding 40 degrees and extreme drought are among the so-called extreme weather events, some of which have dramatic consequences.
Numerous forests are currently burning, farmers are complaining about crop losses, and many people are suffering from the health effects of the heat.
Such weather extremes have always existed - but with the climate crisis they are becoming more likely and sometimes more severe.
This is the result of an analysis of 500 extreme weather events and the associated attribution studies, which the Guardian evaluated together with climate researchers.
The journalists and scientists write that it is worrying that this strong influence of the climate crisis on extreme weather would already occur if the global average temperature rose by just one degree Celsius.
The attribution of how much climate change is in individual weather events regularly causes discussions.
Attribution research, a fairly young branch of climate science, is attempting to clarify this question.
In the studies, researchers use climate models to estimate how much the probability that a certain event will occur has changed as a result of climate change.
The climate information website Carbon Brief provided the Guardian with a database of attribution studies of more than 500 events.
The journalists evaluated them: around 71 percent of the 500 weather events examined were made more likely or more serious by man-made climate change.
This is particularly clear for heat waves: Around 93 percent of the events examined are clearly related to climate change.
In the case of droughts, it is at least 68 percent and 56 percent in the case of floods.
In the case of cold snaps, on the other hand, the share of climate change in their occurrence is only nine percent.
The consequences for people, but also for the economy, are dramatic, the authors conclude: one in three deaths caused by heat waves in the last three decades was the direct result of climate change.
According to this calculation, climate change has already claimed millions of lives.
In addition, material damage occurs over the years amounting to trillions.
"The world is changing fast and the climate crisis is already doing us a lot of damage - that is the blunt summary of the study," said Prof. Maarten van Aalst, the director of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center The Guardian.
The world is currently on course for an increase of at least 2.5 degrees Celsius.