Is It Climate Change? Or Just “Weird Weather”?

The focus on climate change over the past couple of decades has led many people to wonder if extreme weather events, such as droughts, hurricanes or heat waves are a direct cause of climate change. This is a tough question to answer as bouts of extreme weather have always been a part of the natural world.

However, many climatologists believe that the incidents of extreme weather events will increase as the planet’s temperature rises. To answer this, scientists have turned to a new field of research called “attribution science” to help determine what is ‘normal’ and what could be the result of climate change.

Attributing certain weather events to climate change can be difficult, often leading different professionals to varying conclusions. Because of this, scientists working in the field have created a sort of rule-of-thumb to keep in mind: You cannot attribute any single weather event to climate change. It could simply be weird weather.

Rather than looking at isolated events, these scientists search for patterns indicative of a relationship between a type of extreme weather, the area that it is located and the impact of climate change. Some events, such as a number of big floods in Colorado, appear to be normal and unrelated to climate change. However, some events appear to have been directly influenced by changes in the climate, such as a series of intense heat waves in the Southern Pacific in 2013.

Others, like the ongoing drought in California, have elicited mixed responses. While multiple research teams have already concluded that these droughts are not due to climate change, recent research regarding atmospheric conditions in the northern pacific shows otherwise. An atmospheric ridge is a likely cause of the drought, as it diverts moisture away from California. These “ridges”, while rare, will likely become more common as the earth continues to warm. The hope of scientists now is that, in the near future, we will be able to more accurately predict the occurrence of extreme weather events in a warmer world.

 

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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