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Climate change is driving more extreme weather events, scientists say, including a change in rainfall patterns that have caused deadly floods in the US, South Korea, India and Japan over the past week, and storm Cerberus is forecast to hit southern Europe. .
South Korean rescuers on Sunday pulled out bodies from a tunnel where about 15 vehicles were stuck in muddy water after days of heavy rain caused flooding and landslides. At least 37 people have died and thousands more are expected to die after heavy rains began a week ago.
While India regularly witnesses severe floods during the summer monsoon season, scientists say the intensity and timing of monsoons are becoming more erratic due to climate change.
Schools in Delhi were closed on Monday after monsoon rains caused landslides and floods. More than 50 people have died across northern India, including the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
In Japan, torrential rains caused landslides, road closures and train disruptions in the Kyushu and Chugoku regions. The Japan Meteorological Agency warned about 2 million people to seek shelter.
In the US, Montpelier, Vermont received more than 13 cm of rain on Monday. The National Meteorological Center on Thursday warned of severe thunderstorms, floods and cyclones to affect the state. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott warned people to “exercise caution.” “Flash floods are expected, they’re unpredictable,” Scott said.
A senior fellow at the Pacific Institute in California, Dr. Peter Gleick said, “Thunderstorms and severe flooding around the world are worrying signs that climate change is starting to spiral out of control faster than climate scientists have warned.
“These dramatic weather events, along with dramatically warmer ocean temperatures, dangerous heat waves and the rapid loss of polar ice caps, are yet another sign that humans are massively disrupting the planet’s climate.”
Climate change will affect both the intensity and frequency of rainfall, say scientists at the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Warmer oceans increase the amount of water that evaporates into the air, which can move inland and cause more intense rainfall.
Senior Scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center Dr. Jennifer Francis said increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing more heat to be absorbed.
“Warmer oceans and air increase evaporation, and the extra moisture not only makes lousy storms, but also provides more fuel to make them stronger,” Francis said.
A landmark 2021 UN report signed by 270 scientists from 67 countries around the world found that global warming will lead to changes in humidity, drought, wind, snow and ice.
Scientists have found that when there is more intense rainfall and flooding in some areas, some areas experience more intense drought.
Higher latitudes are more likely to see an increase in rainfall, while changes in monsoon rainfall are expected, the IPCC report said.
“Climate change is about surviving climate events,” said Rachel Cletus of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Now you get mega-droughts where there are dry spells. This cycle is very dangerous because when you get dry land with no vegetation, when it rains you get muddy water.
She added: “I want to emphasize that this is human-caused climate change and that it is happening because of the burning of fossil fuels.”
Emissions must be halved by 2030 to limit temperature rise to the 1.5C level expected for irreversible planetary change. But instead they continue to rise year after year.
Even in the best-case scenario of deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the world is likely to temporarily warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius within 20 years, the IPCC report says. The world has already warmed by about 1.1 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.
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