Factors might change to explain a particular extreme weather incident. The more the climate warms, the more we perceive weather extremes – like recurrent heat waves, colder winters, and droughts.
What is an Extreme Weather Event?
To call a weather “extreme”, there are multiple steps. In fact, scientists need to analyze the historical record of a particular region’s weather history. If it excessively produces high and low levels of rain, snow, heat, and wind, then it is considered an extreme weather event. Generally, if the weather even is different from 90 to 95% of the other weather events in the region, then it is indeed extreme.
Do “Trends” refer to both the frequency and severity of extreme weather events?
It is a definite yes. When we say trends, we refer to a change in the quantity or intensity of these extreme weather events. The change can be in both at times.
Trends in Heat Waves:
Extreme hot and sweaty days and nights are experienced worldwide. For instance, in the US heat waves are occurring more frequently than they used to in other cities. Back in 1960, an average of 2 heat waves per year occurred. During the 2010s, the number escalated to 6 per year. This elevation tones with our expectations of the increase in Earth’s average temperature.
What Do More Heat Waves Mean to Our Health?
Children, the elderly, and the economically disadvantaged will be the main and most affected by this change in climate change. Once exposed to extreme heat, heat cramps, heat strokes, and hyperthermia will be secondary effects as a result. Not only that, but it will also aggravate certain chronic health conditions; diabetes for instance. Hence, the hotter the weather, the more prone we become to illness and death.
What about Change to Cold Snaps?
Extreme cold events are fairly less severe than heat waves, especially in the past decade. Nevertheless, changes in the weather events will result in unusually cold winter days. The difference fortunately is that we’re seeing less illness or death due to extreme cold.
How Is Climate Change Affecting Rainfall and Snowfall?
The proliferation of greenhouse gas emissions heats the lower atmosphere of Earth resulting in more moisture. This means whenever it rains or snows, there will be a heavy downfall. Consequently, flooding will be prominent in a lot of areas. Although extreme rainfall and snowfall will vary depending on the region. The most remarkable increase is in North America and certain regions in Europe during the winter.
Can Climate Warming worsen droughts?
Of course, the hotter air temperature will cause worse droughts. This is due to the increase in surface evaporation resulting in drier land. Climate change can also amend rainfall patterns, whereby it can amplify droughts in certain places. Droughts are multiplex phenomena. They involve various combinations; precipitation, temperature patterns, shortage of soil, and snowpack. Hence, they overall impact the ways we manage our land and water.
How Does Climate Warming Affect Wildfires?
There is no doubt that climate change has elongated fire seasons. It has also exacerbated droughts that imperil certain areas to fire. Ergo, Wildfire costs and impacts skyrocketed in the last decades. For droughts, factors are multiple. The community enlargement into the wilderness has made many people and their businesses prone to wildfire. The attributes of the biosphere together with its temperature, soil, moisture, wind, and vegetation, impact an area’s wildfire susceptibility. The impact of climate change on wildfires also varies. For instance, in the Western US, there is a rise in the number of fires and areas burned in recent decades. Additionally, the arctic has become more vulnerable to fire because of rising temperatures and lesser snow cover seasons.
Are Hurricanes Affected By Climate Change?
The short answer is yes. With the evidence we’ve collected, climate change will result in an intensified frequency of hurricanes. The proof emanates from climate models and our apprehension of fundamental physical concepts. Warmth and moisture in the environment will produce the strongest and most intensified hurricanes. This will generate more rainfall. Furthermore, the escalation of sea levels causes more powerful storms. It is worth mentioning that the impact of climate change on hurricane frequency remains research in progress.
Can We Estimate the Influence of Climate Change On A Specific Extreme Weather Event?
The answer is a yes, for specific events, however. The logic of ascribing extreme weather events to climate change has progressed swiftly recently. It has brought to our attention a new understanding of the ways humans caused climate change. Through a well-understood mechanism, our confidence is the strongest when it comes to extreme weather events affected by climate change. For instance, the more we notice human-caused heat waves the more global temperature increases.
We’ve previously had extreme Weather Events; can we blame them on climate change now?
This is not to say that only human-caused climate change is the culprit for extreme weather events. Droughts and torrential can occur as a result of natural or human-caused factors. Research sudation can also explain how climate change influenced the likelihood or potency of a certain weather event. Scientists perform these studies via climate modeling. Another method involves comparing a specific event to a similar historical one. This way, we can compare and contrast if any changes have happened so far.
Why Is It Important to Understand Climate Change’s Impact On Extreme Weather?
Simply put, it helps raise awareness about the choices made and the risks they contain to our environment. For example, if a community knows that increased precipitation from climate change has turned floods from 1 in 100 chances of happening every year, then they’ll start taking decisions responsively.
For that reason, all communities need to be self-aware of the dangers we are putting our planet in. Lack of understanding of the risks will blind us from taking actions to put a halt to climate change. Together, we can make the world a better haven.