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New research shows that climate change is responsible for the increasing regularity of heat waves and extreme rain incidents around the world.

According to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, heat waves that used to occur once every 1000 days (that is once every three years) are now happening every 200 days – which is four times more often than before – and extreme rain events are happening with increasing regularity as well, and this scenario is a result of the 0.85 °C global rise in temperature occurred since the Industrial Revolution.

In fact, the study shows how global warming has already increased the number of times temperatures reach extreme levels, causing faster water evaporation from the oceans and affecting the climate, which is becoming hotter and wetter and is therefore giving rise to extreme weather incidents.

While this is already happening at this moment in time, in thefuture the scenario will probably become even more unstable and dangerous, irrespective of the achievement of the target governments have set to limit temperature rises within 2 °C. The study reveals that, on average, the planet will experience 60% more extreme rain events and 27 extremely hot days, and these figures could grow dramatically if global warming will exceed 3 °C, as it is likely to happen given the current levels of human-caused global greenhouse gas emissions.

As Peter Stott, scientist at the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre, has pointed out, this new study is an important step in the so-called attribution science; in fact, associating present weather incidents with climate change can slowly wear away the common feeling that climate change is something that will have to be dealt with in the future.

The study also reveals that the effects of global warming will affect each country differently. In particular, some already dry regions – such as parts of the Mediterranean, North Africa, Chile, the Middle East and Australia – will experience less heavy rain events, while tropical countries that are already dealing with weak infrastructures and poverty will be affected by more than 50 times as many extremely hot days and 2.5 times as many rainy ones if warming will reach or exceed 2 °C.


The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

(Source: Guardian)