As Guardian analysis reveals that human-caused global heating is driving more frequent and deadly weather disasters, there is no place for denialism any more
In November 2015, prolonged and heavy rainfall dumped 341mm (13.4 in) of rain in Honister, Cumbria, within 24 hours. Just as in 2009 and again in 2013, when massive rainstorms inundated Cumbria and the West Country, lives were lost, thousands of homes were flooded, it took months to recover from and cost hundreds of millions of pounds.
But how far had these winter storms been caused by the climate crisis? Until 2015, the stock answer of government and meteorologists was that it was impossible to attribute the climate emergency to any particular weather event and that they were most likely extreme, once-in-a-century disasters and by implication not much for politicians to worry about.
John Vidal is a former Guardian environment editor