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Environmental catastrophes, climate change, and attribution

Lloyd, E. A. and Shepherd, T. G. (2020) Environmental catastrophes, climate change, and attribution. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1469 (1). pp. 105-124. ISSN 1749-6632

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/nyas.14308


In our discussion of environmental and ecological catastrophes or disasters resulting from extreme weather events, we unite disparate literatures, the biological and the physical. Our ultimate goal is to tie together biological understandings of extreme environmental events with physical understandings of extreme weather events into joint causal accounts. This requires fine-grained descriptions, in both space and time, of the ecological, evolutionary, and biological moving parts of a system together with fine-grained descriptions, also in both space and time, of the extreme weather events. We find that both the ‘storyline’ approach to extreme event attribution and the probabilistic ‘risk-based’ approach have uses in such descriptions. However, the storyline approach is more readily aligned with the forensic approach to evidence that is prevalent in the ecological literature, which cultivates expert-based rules of thumb, i.e., heuristics, and detailed methods for analyzing causes and mechanisms. We introduce below a number of preliminary examples of such studies, as instances of what could be pursued in the future in much more detail.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:88582
Publisher:New York Academy of Sciences


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