Record heat waves in Antarctica, melting glaciers, a wave after a wave of drought and forest fires and an endless series of mega storms: since the Paris Agreement of 2015, the deadly effects of climate change have been more and more visible.
“The world has changed since Paris. It has changed for the worse, ”said Saleemul Huq, of the International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at the Independent University of Bangladesh.
“We are currently seeing the impacts of climate change attributable to humans. ”
– More and more hot –
The five hottest years on record have all been since 2015; The World Meteorological Organization said last week 2020 was set to be one of the three hottest years in history.
2016 remains the hottest year on record, with temperatures 1.2 ° C above the historical average. (The Paris agreement aims to limit warming to “well below” 2 ° C and to 1.5 ° C if possible).
2020 will be on the hottest year list despite being a year with the La Nina cooling phenomenon.
In 2019, most of Europe was suffocated by a record heat wave.
In June, the temperatures in the city of Verkhoyansk in Siberia exceeded 38 ° C; in February, researchers recorded a temperature of 20.75 ° C in western Antarctica – both are believed to be records.
– The ice is melting, the sea is rising –
Such temperature anomalies disproportionately affect the poles of our planet.
In October, scientists recorded the smallest extent of sea ice in the Arctic, and numerous studies have shown how Greenland’s ice caps are melting at unprecedented rates.
Melted ice from glaciers has raised global sea level by 15 centimeters in the last century, according to UN experts. They warn that up to a billion people could see their way of life threatened by rising seas as early as 2050.
– Stormy seasons –
Higher and warmer seas mean increasingly strong tropical storms.
“If you decrease the amount of arctic sea ice, you start to warm the arctic and when you start to warm the arctic you can start to change the flow of the jet stream that brings us the weather,” Nathan said. Kurtz from NASA’s Goddard Space Center.
Hurricanes and other cyclonic storms feed on warmer ocean waters, and while it’s difficult to attribute a single weather event to global warming, the long-term trends are striking.
Each of the past five Atlantic hurricane seasons has seen above-average storm activity. For 2020, it was so intense that scientists ran out of Greek alphabet names for its 30 record storms.
Last year, two cyclones ravaged the coast of Mozambique, razing much of Beira’s second city, leaving more than 600 dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.
In 2017, much of South Asia and in particular Bangladesh was inundated with spilled flood waters during a supercharged storm season.
– Droughts, forest fires –
At the other end of the weather spectrum, droughts are on the rise as temperatures continue to steadily rise.
This has a profound impact on crop yields, as well as the supply of drinking water, as nearly four million Cape Town residents discovered when taps nearly ran dry in 2017 after three years of record drought. .
The World Weather Attribution (WWA) service has calculated that situations such as the threatened ‘zero day’ in the South African metropolis are three times more likely due to climate change.
A long, severe drought is also creating the perfect, dry conditions for the mega fires seen this year in eastern Australia, California and much of Siberia.
In Australia, the likelihood of intense fire seasons such as 2020 has increased by 30% since 1990 due to warming, the WWA said.
In Siberia, fires threaten permafrost, which contains staggering levels of greenhouse gases.
Fires have also raged throughout the Amazon, mainly due to deforestation for agriculture. Scientists say more fires are likely due to climate change.
– Food crises –
Agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and its increasing intensification of resource use threatens the global food chain.
Last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations warned that food production was “extremely sensitive” to climate change, which also threatens to reduce a major source of food as stocks of fish decrease.
© 2020 AFP