How the summer of 2021 changed our understanding of extreme weather

Inheritance of Record natural disaster It has swept the globe in the last few weeks. Serious floods have occurred in China and Western Europe, heat waves and droughts have occurred in North America, and wildfires have occurred in the subarctic.

First grade report Britain’s weather shows that extreme events are commonplace in the once warm climate of a country. In August 2020, temperatures reached 34 degrees Celsius for six consecutive days throughout southern England. This includes five sticky nights when mercury remains above 20 degrees. In the future, even though global warming is limited to 1.5 ° C, summers in the UK can regularly exceed 40 ° C.

Meanwhile, Canada’s national temperature record was broken in June 2021 to record 49.6 ° C in Lytton, British Columbia. Forest fire A few days later.

Many of these events have shocked climate scientists. For example, Lytton’s temperature records far exceeded those set during previous heat waves in the region. Some scientists are beginning to worry that they may be underestimating how rapidly the climate changes. Or did you just misunderstand extreme weather and how warming affects them?

read more: Extreme heat waves in the world of warming not only break records, but also break records

Everything is connected

Floods and wildfires are not discrete events. They are the result of numerous interconnects and feedback loops in the climate system. Take mid-July Flash floods in London.. These were caused by a summer storm, which was caused by warm air rising from the surface of the Earth that accumulated during the previous heat wave, and piled up the decks for the subsequent heavy rains. On the other hand, wildfires that rage in the western United States Long-term drought..

The Earth’s climate is complex, dynamic and chaotic, involving interactions and energy fluxes between land, sea and atmosphere. The idea that scientists can study parts of this system in a relatively isolated manner is flawed. However, it was not always possible to model or understand all of these complications, so scientists needed to break them down into manageable parts to fit linear systems and models. did. These were often divided into scientific disciplines, such as atmospheric science, hydrology, earth systems science, and engineering, where most of us are still somewhat restricted today.

As a result, we are accustomed to treating each natural disaster independently of each other. But flooding requires more than rain, and wildfires require more than sparks. All the elements of our climate system, and the dangers they create, are somehow linked.

These interactions and combinations are not new. It’s just that we haven’t always thought about them in such a combined way. When a disaster follows a disaster, it may seem shocking. This is because they are trained to focus on one type at a time (such as drought and flood) and think individually about weather hazards. Almost all risk assessments underestimate the risks associated with interrelated events.

But as our climate continues to warm, its baseline is changing. Therefore, how these dangers and their causes interact is also changing rapidly, challenging the very definition of extreme weather.

Until recently, the interrelationships between extreme weather events have been largely overlooked by the scientific community.But now it’s growing International studies It is responsible for mapping these complex relationships.

Complex Events-Terms adopted only by 2012 IPCC -Explain the consequences of a combination of causes that ultimately exceeds the coping capacity of the underlying system.These include: event Dangers like wildfires were exacerbated by something that pretreated an environment like a drought.

Alertness to these complex events should affect the way we live our lives in a warmer world. Further cross-disciplinary research is needed, as well as new approaches to disaster risk assessment and climate change adaptation to investigate hazards caused by all weather and their complex and changing interactions.Improvement Climate modeling In short, we can do more of this kind of science. The climate crisis shows what we have to do.

Author: Christopher J White-Director of Water, Environment, Sustainability and Public Health Center, University of Strathclyde

How the summer of 2021 changed our understanding of extreme weather

SourceHow the summer of 2021 changed our understanding of extreme weather

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