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Climate Change Induced Weather Events

Climate Change Induced Weather Events

CONTEXT:

  • While there can be many other reasons for intense weather events, the trajectory is clear — climate change remains the most significant contributing factor that is causing more powerful heat waves, droughts and bigger storm surges.

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KEY DETAILS:

  • This year, people around the world have been doubly hit by the pandemic and extreme weather events which experts say have been fuelled by climate change.

  • World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recently stated that rising temperatures can have far-reaching consequences, including an impact on

    • Food security

    • Health

    • The environment

    • Sustainable development

  • Increasing temperatures mean

    • More melting ice,

    • Higher sea levels,

    • More heatwaves and other extreme weather

EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS IN 2021:

Among the extreme weather events across the world this year are

  • The unprecedented heat wave that drove temperatures across Canada and parts of the United States to a record high, causing hundreds of deaths between June 25 to 30;

  • The recent floods in Germany that killed over 180 people in the country;

  • Cyclones Tauktae and Yaas that hit India’s west and east coasts respectively;

  • The floods in New South Wales in February.

  • The heat wave that engulfed the northwest of Canada and the US last month shattered long-standing temperature records by several degrees,

    • With temperatures settling above 40°C for days and reaching 49.6°C — 4 degrees higher than the previous record — in the village of Lytton, Canada and 46.7°C in Portland city in Oregon, US.

    • This was the warmest temperature recorded in Portland — 5.6 degrees hotter than the daily maximum in June, according to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Germany received record rainfall this time,

    • Areas of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were hit by 148 litres of rain per square metre in just 48 hours in a part of Germany that usually sees about 80 litres in the entire month

    • Flooding at Köln-Stammheim station was the most striking as it broke more than a dozen records with 154mm of rain in over 24 hours, obliterating the city’s previous daily rainfall high of 95mm.

IS THERE LINK BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE AND EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS?

  • Climate scientists have long predicted that human emissions would cause

    • More floods

    • Heatwaves

    • Droughts,

    • Storms

    • Other forms of extreme weather

  • Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere averaged 419 parts per million in May this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

    • That’s the 2021 peak for atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory — the highest level in 63 years

  • Climate scientists have also said that in general, the rising average global temperature is making heavy rainfall more likely.

    • Warmer air carries more moisture, meaning that more water will be released eventually.

  • A study published in Nature journal in 2016 stated that human-induced global warming has contributed to the increased frequency and intensity of cyclonic storms over the Arabian Sea.

  • The other important point of concern remains that temperatures at the Earth’s poles are rising at two to three times the temperature at the equator.

    • This weakens the jet stream of the mid-latitudes, situated over Europe.

    • During summer and autumn, the weakening of the jet stream has a causal effect resulting in slower-moving storms. 

    • This can result in more severe and longer-lasting storms with increased intensity.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

  • Is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation on 

    • Atmospheric science,

    • Climatology

    • Hydrology 

    • Geophysics

  • The WMO originated from the International Meteorological Organization, a nongovernmental organization founded in 1873 as a forum for exchanging weather data and research.

  • The WMO is made up of 193 countries and territories, and facilitates the "free and unrestricted" exchange of data, information, and research between the respective meteorological and hydrological institutions of its members.

  • It also collaborates with nongovernmental partners and other international organizations on matters related to

    • Environmental protection

    • Climate change

    • Resource management

    • Socio-economic development.

SOURCE: Indian Express