An abnormal 2020 continues: hurricanes, droughts and floods are yet to come
Crazy 2020 never ceases to torment humanity. Hot summer breaks all temperature records. Experts predict a long season of hurricanes, fires, droughts and floods for the planet. Some countries die from the heat, others are buried in the rain and freeze. Scientists say this is reinforced concrete evidence of climate change. 2020 could be one of the hottest in 150 years. Reported by with the BBC.
Such anti-records have become a bad tradition. The trend has continued to deteriorate over the past 19 years, and the closer to 2020, the more noticeable the warming becomes. If everything continues like this, then this year will update the list of record holders.
The only plus from this is that it will be easier for scientists to reach out to the minds of the government and all of humanity. Global warming is accelerating before our eyes, which, most likely, will have to revise the Paris Agreement. In this document, practically all states of the world have approved a plan for preventing a climate catastrophe.
However, the time for such decisive action has never been the right time. The COVID-19 pandemic is driving the world into a deep economic crisis. In this regard, the "green" agenda in most countries will recede into the background.
According to statistics, July 2020 entered the top three hottest since 1880. The surface temperature of land and oceans exceeded the average for the 0,92th century by 0,01 ° C. Another 2019 degrees, and the record of July XNUMX would be broken. This was facilitated by a cold winter in the southern hemisphere.
"These are not records to strive for," said Gareth Redmond King of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "The tropical heat may sometimes be pleasant to people in countries like the UK, but in fact it is a vivid reminder of the climate crisis on the planet."
10 record hot July fell on the last ten years.
Less ice and more hurricanes
Excessive heat is dangerous for a number of reasons. First, it leads to many deaths. Over the past few years, high temperatures have killed more people than any other natural disaster, according to the UK's Royal Weather Service.
Secondly, due to extremely high temperatures, lands dry up, the soil becomes unsuitable for growing crops, ice melts, and the level of the world ocean rises. In July 2020, the volume of Arctic ice was only 75% of the average statistical norm inherent in the last 40 years. This is the smallest indicator in the entire history of observations. The Northern Sea Route is practically free of ice.
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One year after the previous anti-record in the Arctic, a piece of ice the size of Poland turned into water. And over the past 45 years, the volume of ice has decreased by two-thirds. At such a rate, by the middle of the century, the North will completely melt. According to many scientists, this can cause the release of many dangerous viruses and pathogenic microorganisms to which a person does not have immunity.
While polar bears and walruses are changing their habitats at the North Pole, completely different results of extreme warming are visible closer to the equator. So, sailors and residents of coastal zones are the first to suffer. In 2020, hurricane season hit them unusually early, and by July as many as nine named storms swept through the tropics (this is an absolute record).
A squall wind near the equator hints at the appearance of the La Niña phenomenon - a decrease in temperature in the Pacific Ocean, provided the Atlantic is heated, can provoke a shock hurricane season.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has calculated that there will be 19 to 25 powerful cyclones instead of the usual 12. It is also expected that 7 to 11 will increase to hurricane level, and 3 to 6 will be highly destructive.
Drought and floods in Europe
Half of Europe suffered from the heat in July and was not allowed to water the gardens with a hose while the rest of it dressed warmly and pumped water from flooded basements.
Thus, in Finland, the level of rainfall was two and a half times higher than the norm, and the temperature dropped below normal by 1-2 degrees. At the same time, Portugal was hit by the hottest July in the last 90 years of observations. France also recorded a temperature record starting in 1959, when forecasters began to closely monitor weather changes. These data are provided by the European Center Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
According to scientists, this is precisely what global warming is dangerous for: sudden changes in temperature and humidity, natural disasters and the transformation of a temperate climate into an extreme one.
The process of heating the planet leads to disruptions in the established system of cooling and circulation of water and air, provokes the appearance of hurricanes, tropical downpours, drought and frost, filling YouTube and Twitter with chronicles of a real apocalypse.
The relative humidity of air on land as a whole on the planet has been declining over the past 40 years. The reason for this is not a decrease in precipitation, but the fact that the air temperature over the land part is increasing more and more, and the difference with the temperature at the surface of the oceans is increasing, scientists emphasize.
Deviations from the norm not only began to be recorded more often, they are manifested more clearly - globally. Europe is suffering for the third dry summer in a row, and this negatively affects both the harvest and the economy as a whole.
Two years of drought in Europe were recorded for the first time in 250 years. Scientists came to this conclusion and published their research in August. They evaluated only the last two years, not taking into account the current - 2020.
This is just the beginning, experts warn.
"The likelihood of a repeat of such a scenario will increase in the near future, mainly due to warming caused by human activity," the authors of the scientific paper say. They warn that if a number of drastic measures are not taken, then in the second half of the XNUMXst century, a long-term drought may occur, which can lead not only to hunger, but also "dry up the Old World."
At the dawn of our century, dry seasons in Europe have become much more frequent. So, in 2003, a biblical drought came there, which happens once every several centuries. Experts estimate the economic damage at € 100 billion.
In 2020, as soon as the elections in Russia took the first place in the world grain export market, the ratings of the European Union plummeted due to droughts and floods. The largest European exporter, France, will cut the export of the crop several times this season. Even Poland and the Baltics, which have seen good crop growth, will not be able to compensate for this failure and loss of market share.
On the contrary, on the territory of Russia, the yield growth will increase at a record rate. Experts are looking forward to the return of world export leadership. Also, local crop records are expected in Australia and Canada, Bloomberg continues to assess the situation.
Large-scale fires in the United States
A similar European situation developed in the summer of 2020 and on the other side of the Atlantic. The Southwest United States smolders in the hot sun. At the same time, the central states are heavily flooded with rains.
California is most affected by the warming. Initially, she broke her own temperature record: + 54,4 ° C in Death Valley. Then, throughout the state, for the first time in 20 years, they began to systematically turn off the lights: air conditioners and refrigerators overloaded the network.
“In California, this concerns everyone, and no one has any illusions: everyone here knows that the heat is getting hotter and the drought is getting drier. We have long recognized the impact of climate change, ”said California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Despite the weather indicators, there are those who blame the authorities for the failed power system management of the most populous and wealthy state in the United States. Steven Berberick, head of California-based electricity market operator, disagrees.
“The power grid load forecast reflects the realities of climate change. It's getting hotter, ”he was quoted as saying in the FT.
The words of the authorities and forest fires confirm.
Average temperatures in California are rising even faster than the planet as a whole, and precipitation is dropping significantly. The bottom line is an increase in the area of burning forests by 40% every decade.
Will 2020 be a record-breaking
Not only July, but all of 2020 is marked by a solid anomaly, which is gradually turning into the norm. In January-July, the planet warmed up 1,05 ° C above average - this is the second result after 2016, and the gap is insignificant, only 0,04 degrees. Both Europe and Asia have surpassed temperature records.
American scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that 2020 will be among the five hottest in the entire 141-year history of observations. Experts also note that there is a huge chance (about 75%) that 2020 will break all records.
But it can also happen otherwise, if the mentioned La Niña in the Pacific Ocean gains strength. However, a point cooling is not considered to be evidence of a breakdown in general trends, since in this case gusty winds will briefly drive heat from the ocean surface and lower the temperature. However, it will not change the total amount of energy that determines the climate on the planet.
To bring warming under control, nearly every country in the world has agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This was supposed to keep the temperature rise on Earth within one and a half degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. Environmental scientists have long warned that such steps are few, especially given the US withdrawal from the agreement.
Having updated the information, the scientists recalculated the previous models and came to the unambiguous conclusion that the risk of temperature rise at a given level of emissions is higher than previously assumed. Therefore, there is no need to hope for a natural decrease in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - you need to poison the sky less.
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Otherwise, the temperature indicators will only grow, the authors of another scientific publication of this anomalous summer, experts from the British Royal Meteorological Service, concluded. By the way, this institution was founded by the father of modern meteorology, Robert Fitzroy (under his leadership about 200 years ago, Charles Darwin went on an expedition aboard the Beagle, which resulted in the theory of the evolution of species).
After the temperature record was broken in Britain in the summer of 2019 and the thermometer in Cambridge reached +38,7 degrees Celsius, they set about modeling the future and came to the conclusion that while maintaining current emissions into the atmosphere, 40 degrees heat in Britain by 2100 year will happen every three and a half years instead of the previous 100-300 years.
Other scientists (from the University of Oxford) have suggested calling episodes of heat waves the same as hurricanes, because they happen more often and kill significantly more people. And you need to know the enemy by sight.
This thought came to scientists, who realized that the scale of the disaster is difficult to grasp, since not everything is taken into account. Africa, as one of the hottest regions on the planet, does not actually feature in the extreme weather databases that researchers use to infer the speed and impact of climate change.
Over the past 120 years, only two references to anomalous temperatures in sub-Saharan Africa have appeared in such databases. At the same time, in Europe, references are found 83 times, in just 40 years (according to statistics, the heat took the lives of 140 thousand people and caused damage to states in the amount of $ 12 billion).
And this is taking into account the fact that Europeans attribute more than three days of high temperatures in a row to abnormal heat, while Africans do not notice anything unusual in weekly episodes. In 1992, the heat wave in Africa lasted as much as 4 months, but this record was not included in the EM-DAT database.
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