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Climate change creating extreme weather – report
March 12, 2016, 8:45 am

Unprecedented heavy rain fell on the UAE last week causing flash floods in many cities such as Abu Dhabi [Xinhua]

Unprecedented heavy rain fell on the UAE last week causing flash floods in many cities such as Abu Dhabi [Xinhua]

A prominent scientific research group based in the US has said that climate change attributed to human consumption and practice is causing abnormal weather patterns.

The report – Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change – published by the the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) says that man-made climate change has “led to discernible and quantifiable changes in the intensity and/or frequency of some types of extreme” weather.

These include heat waves, droughts, heavy rain and snowstorms.

The report builds on earlier research dating back to 2003 when a freak summer heat wave killed thousands of people in Europe.

It builds on a new aspect of scientific research called “extreme event attribution” which examines the relationship between extreme weather changes and climate change.

Using extreme event attribution, the authors of the report were able to determine that climate change in 2003 more than doubled the likelihood of the heat wave.

Given that model, the projection for the next 50 years is dire.

The United Nations has warned that global temperatures will rise by at least 2 degrees Celsius within the next 80 years.

This will have a devastating effect on the way of life for billions of people around the world because even a 1.5 Celsius rise is likely to wipe out many ecosystems and hundreds of inhabited islands.

Such man-made climate change will in turn produce greater frequency in extreme weather patterns.

Extreme weather that was once observed as being “rare” will now become more common, and likely more devastating.

Greenhouse emissions

The planet we call home is growing less and less healthy thanks to rapid industrialization, rising global temperatures, pollution, over-fishing, decline in freshwater, infiltration of chemicals into agricultural land, carbon emissions and “loss of biosphere integrity” and human consumption.

In 2015, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre were among a group of organizations which released data that 2014 was the hottest year on record – since temperatures were registered in the 1880s.

The burning of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions are significant contributing factors in how quickly, and drastically, the planet is warming up.

NASA scientists say that the majority of the global warming in temperatures has occurred in the past three decades.

Scientists say the extensively high level of carbon emissions have already created significant global warming which has caused flooding and higher-than-normal temperatures in Australia and much of the Middle East.

On December 12, the Paris agreement on climate change was adopted with no objection by the 196 Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) hosted by France.

The Paris pact, which aims to hold global average temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, is not a fully legally binding treaty.

The Paris Climate Change COP21 summit also received national pledges from some 170 countries.

For example, India (the fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter) said it would cut the rate of carbon emissions relative to gross domestic product by 33-35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

A climate-change policy statement released by New Delhi said the plans were “fair and ambitious considering the fact that India is attempting to work towards low carbon emission pathway while endeavoring to meet all the developmental challenges the country faces today.”

The country will boost the share of electricity produced from sources other than fossil fuels to 40 per cent by 2030, the government said.

But the Indian government has also called on industrialized nations to do more.

Brazil, the seventh worst emitter, according to the World Resources Institute has vowed to curb deforestation and increase reforestation in the next few years.

The Brazilian government also aims to eradicate illegal deforestation by 2030 and carry out reforestation of 12 million hectares within the same time period.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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