The intensity of extreme storms – such as the weather that has hit New Zealand this week – is increasing because of climate change – a scientist says.
Victoria University climate scientist Professor James Renwick said heavy rain events like cyclone Debbie and last month’s ‘Tasman tempest’, which brought flooding in Auckland had a clear human footprint.
The risk of seeing such storms was increasing as time went on he said.
‘It’s not as though every time there’s a storm it’s going to be like this or that there’s going to be torrential rain every month – but it’s pushing the odds’ Professor Renwick said.
When there was a storm it was more likely to bring heavier rain than it would without climate change he said.
Professor Renwick compare pumping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to putting on a warm blanket.