The spate of wild and hot weather

The world is getting closer to passing a temperature limit set by global leaders five years ago and may exceed it in the next decade or so. In the next five years, the world has nearly a 1-in-4 chance of experiencing a year that’s hot enough to put the global temperature at 2.7 degrees (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times, according to a new science update released Wednesday by the United Nation. In recent weeks, the world has seen ferocious wildfires in the U.S. West, torrential rains in Africa, weirdly warm temperatures on the surface of tropical oceans, and record heat waves from California to the Siberian Arctic. This spate of wild weather is consistent with climate change, and the world can expect even more extreme weather and higher risks from natural disasters as global emissions of greenhouse gases continue.
Researchers at the University of Bristol in the west of England published a study last month that found that climate change could make extreme hurricane rainfall in the Caribbean five times more likely, without rapid cuts in emissions. In the United States, warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico boosted Hurricane Laura to a category 4 storm in the last hours before it slammed into Louisiana with 150 mile-per-hour (240 kph) winds. Governor John Bel Edwards described it as the most powerful hurricane to strike the state, surpassing even Katrina in 2005.
Tropical cyclones spinning out from the Indian Ocean are showing similar patterns. The region has long been considered a hot spot for cyclones, with some of the deadliest storms in recent history churning through the Bay of Bengal before slamming into India or Bangladesh.
For decades, scientists have warned of such events – but have been wary of saying that a particular storm or heatwave was a direct result of climate change. The world already has warmed nearly 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 1800s, and the last five years are hotter than the previous five years, the report said. The speed-up could be temporary, or it might not be. But truth is that record heat, ice loss, wildfires, floods and droughts continue to worsen, affecting communities, nations and economies around the world.
 

- Prabhakar Purandare

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