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This picture shows two men attempting to push a car out of floodwaters after a storm swept Changsha, central China's Hunan province on taken on April 7, 2015
This picture shows two men attempting to push a car out of floodwaters after a storm swept Changsha, central China's Hunan province on taken on April 7, 2015 AFP/Getty Images

Heatwaves Caused By Climate Change 75% Of the Time, Study Finds

Apr 27, 2015

Climate change is increasingly causing extreme weather like heavy rains, heat waves and severe storms, according to a new study.

Three-quarters of all hot spells occurring over land can be traced back to human activity, according to a study published Monday in Nature Climate Change. Global warming also causes 18% of heavy precipitation, the report finds, a figure that will increase to 40% if temperatures continue to rise.

"With every degree of warming it is the rarest and the most extreme events—and thereby the ones with typically the highest socio-economic impacts—for which the largest fraction is due to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions," Swiss researchers Erich Fischer and Reto Knutti wrote.

The study looked at heat waves and heavy rains from 25 climate models over the period from 1901-2005 as well as projections for 2006-2100.

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