Even as Earth’s climate warms up, a new and disturbing pattern of more intense and frequent weather events is unfolding around the planet. Our planet is warming up due to human activities. An increase in global warming increases the likelihood of extreme weather events.
This increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts is in keeping with what climate experts have long been predicting. And there is mounting evidence that the future has far worse in store for mankind and all other living creatures than even the direst predictions. And things will soon get out of control if we fail to act.
Humanity is sitting on a time bomb when it comes to global warming and its direct consequence, extreme weather events. And we have just around a decade to avert a worldwide catastrophe that will send Earth’s climate system into a vortex of epic destruction.
It will lead to an epidemic, and multiple extreme weather events such as droughts, killer heat waves, forest fires, epidemics, and floods. And it will all have been our creation, and also because we dithered even when we realized the impending doom. The extreme weather events will increase in frequency and will become deadlier with each passing year of inaction.
Climate Crisis Is Bring About These Extreme Weather Events
Extreme weather events are those that bring in unusually severe rain, snow, wind, and temperature. Such events are considered extreme if they are not like 90 – 95% of similar weather events that occur in that area regularly.
Climate change can contribute to the intensity and duration of heatwaves by increasing the frequency of extremely hot nights and days. Warm air also aggravated evaporation, leading to droughts. And severe droughts multiply the chances of forest fires due to dry fields and forests. 2021 was a particularly severe year as droughts and forest fires affected all major continents from North America to Australia.
Global warming also leads to the presence of more water vapor in the atmosphere which leads to heavy and prolonged rail fall and snowfalls.
A moist and warm atmosphere passing over the oceans also leads to more intense hurricanes that are more intense, dup more rains after landfall, and cause more damage. Climate change has led to global warming that has increased the level of seas and resulted in destructive flooding.
While global warming has been responsible for frequent and destructive flooding, hurricanes are already more intense.
Direct Consequences Of Climate Change
The direct consequences of man-made climate change include a rise in maximum and minimum temperatures. The average temperature of the planet has already increased by 1C compared to pre-industrial levels. This change might appear small but will bring in major changes in the planet’s climate. This is because the amount of extra energy needed to cause even that change is vast. This extra energy is similar to force-feeding the global climate system and leading to extreme weather events more frequently.
The hottest years on record were in the last decade and have already been broken twice. Records have been broken for the most prolonged heatwaves and the meteorology bureau has been forced to add two new colors, magenta and purple to depict temperatures of 54C and above.
Rising temperatures in the seas have led to glaciers and ice caps melting all over the planet. This has increased the volume of water in the seas and has increased the frequency and intensity of floods and storms. Low-lying islands and coastal areas of many continents are under severe threat. Droughts have become frequent in even temperature regions with America facing the most severe drought in its history in 2021.
Higher temperatures also have boosted the rate of evaporation drying out water sources and increasing the severity of droughts.
There has been a drastic increase in the frequency of extreme weather events like bush fires, droughts cyclones, and floods as they turn more intense and frequent due to global warming.
Cyclones and storms forming over tropical and sub-tropical waters had increased in intensity and ferocity in most oceans.
Human Influence On Climate Change And Resulting Extreme Weather Events
Studies have increasingly focused on human-caused climate changes that have increased the severity of natural extreme weather conditions. This includes the severe drought and the resulting poor harvests that have sustained for years in southern Africa and the enhanced heating of surface sea temperatures that have destroyed large parts of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.
Attribution studies of climate change have increasingly focused on the impact of extreme weather rather than focusing merely on the weather events.
The first impact attribution was published in 2016 which estimated that an overwhelming 506 of the 735 fatalities in Paris during the heatwave of 2003 in Europe were due to climate change which increased the severity of the heat waves. The scenario was similarly identical in England.
Scientists have discovered that climate change linked to human influence has led to an increase in the severity of extreme weather events in 79% of the cases.
Of the 132 attribution studies that have studied extreme heat events around the world. It was found that in 122 of the cases (92%), climate change was the reason for the severity of the drought. Only in 10 cases where the influence of climate change on heatwaves found not to have an influence or led to inconclusive reports.
Heatwaves were particularly closely followed in Australia and climate change was found to have played a role in all but one of the 14 extreme weather studies in the island continent.
Increased winter temperatures have also led to low precipitation in the form of snow in affected areas. Even in the event of the same amount of precipitation in the form of rains, there is the chance of drought as many water systems are linked to the melting of snow in spring from the mountain snow-packs.
The recent mega-drought in western regions of America is 42% more extreme due to the climate crisis.
One important point is that there have been repeated cases where research has led to the finding that climate change has made a given type of extreme weather more likely.
In studies on flooding and rainfall, 58% of the studies discovered that human activity has had a moderate to extreme influence on climate change. This is a smaller proportion than for temperature-related studies.
Te studies have revealed that flooding and rainfall are inherently more complex to determine. Other factors such as drainage and land use also play a part in whether there is a link between rain and floods.
Warm sea surface temperatures caused by climate change lead to more extreme weather in the oceans. The storms have more water content and are stronger. NOAA has calculated that Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes are set to increase with a more warm climate.
More evaporation will also lead to more extreme weather in the form of hard rain. Scientists say that the 2018 hurricane in Florida was 50% wetter. Sea level rise linked to climate change also makes hurricanes more intense.
Perhaps the most direct connection between climate change and extreme weather is heat waves. There has been a steady rise in global temperatures, and records are being set for high temperatures on every continent.
The US experience record highs on two occasions and studies have found that in 92% of the cases, extreme temperatures were directly linked to climate change. The 2019 heatwave that devastated France 2019 was estimated to be up to 100 times likely due to the use of fossil fuels.
The climate crisis has a strong impact on extreme weather like hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons. Scientists have estimated that Hurricane Florence in 2018 was 50% wetter and it was linked to climate change.
Sea level rise also has an impact on the intensity of storms as it adds to the storm surge. The surge of Hurricane Harvey was a foot higher due to the rise in sea level and also due to land subsidence caused by drilling operations.