COP20 (08/12/14) – Willet explains that attribution science is relatively new and whilst attributing climate change is easy, extreme weather events are harder to attribute. Challenges to attribution include lack of good observational data, particularly outside of North America and Europe, and the need for high tech modelling capacity. It is easier to attribute temperature in comparison to precipitation events.
In response to the recent WMO news that 2014 is the warmest year on record, Willet explains that what is more significant is that collectively the last 14 years were the 15th warmest years on record. She tells RTCC that in order to find out if the climate is changing you need to observe global data, however in order to find out how that is impacting people, the finer detail and regional data needs to be modelled.