Sustainable Living & Sustainable Lifestyle

Extreme weather will remain a part of our lives for the foreseeable future.

Is Extreme Weather Now A Regular Part of Life?

People in North American this summer have already dealt with wildfires, drought, floods and a hurricane. Unfortunately, that will likely apply to most summers going forward

Most scientists agree that the summer of 2021 is foreshadowing things to come. It’s already produced a hurricane, heat waves, wildfires, floods and drought in North America alone. More extreme weather is expected in the coming months.

A person who follows environmental science already knows that climate change is driving a  large number of these extreme weather events. The question today is not so much what causes these events, but how it is happening and whether they will become a permanent fixture of every summer.

Is Extreme Weather Now A Regular Part of Life?

Climate Change and Extreme Weather

How does climate change drive extreme weather events? Lauren Sommer and Rebecca Hersher from National Public Radio’s climate team talked about the summer’s extreme weather recently.

They said that the heat waves experienced this summer are far from the norm. June 2021 ranks as the hottest summer in North America in more than a century. The month clocked in with temperatures four degrees higher than average.

Because the average temperature around the globe has increased about two degrees, many scientists believe that the number of heat wave events could increase.

The heat also can fuel more wildfires. During a drought like the current one in the Southwest, extreme heat dries out the vegetation and can cause fires to burn longer and more intensely. Warmer Gulf of Mexico waters could also lead to more intense hurricanes. And a hotter Earth also leads to more humidity and moisture in the air, which in turn can lead to the extreme rainfalls and flooding that hit Europe and China this summer.

Climate Scientists Update Their Forecasts

While critics have long accused climate scientists of being alarmist, it’s now clear they may have been conservative in their predictions. Many have been surprised with the speed at which extreme weather events have worsened.

Climate scientist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University told Reuters: “It’s not so much that climate change itself is proceeding faster than expected — the warming is right in line with model predictions from decades ago. Rather, it’s the fact that some of the impacts are greater than scientists predicted.”

Reuters also quoted Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of the U.N. Environment Programmer, as saying that “2021 must mark the beginning of the era of action, and it must be the year where science reigns supreme.”

A panel of international climate scientists are currently working on a new report for the United Nations that will update projections on the impact of climate change. The hope is that the report will provide a blueprint for governments who want to lower greenhouse gas emissions as well as build more sustainable infrastructure and public services.

What seems clear is that even if they act immediately, extreme weather will remain a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. As noted by Reuters: “Countries need to realize that extreme events are here to stay, even if the world can rapidly reduce emissions, scientists say.”

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