Traffic warden Rai Rogers attends his street corner during an 8-hour shift in the sun in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 12, 2023, where temperatures reached 106 degrees amid an ongoing heat wave. . More than 50 million Americans are preparing to bake in dangerously high temperatures this week, from California to Texas to Florida, as a heat wave builds up across the southern United States.
Frederick J. Brown | Afp | fake images
If you feel like record-level extreme weather events are occurring with alarming frequency, you’re not alone. Scientists say it’s not your imagination.
“The number of simultaneous extreme weather events we’re seeing right now in the Northern Hemisphere seems to outweigh anything, at least in my memory,” miguel mannprofessor of environmental and earth sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, told CNBC.
Worldwide, June was the hottest June on record for 174 years maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency said Thursday. It was the 47th consecutive June and the 532nd consecutive month in which average temperatures were above the 20th century average.
The amount of sea ice measured in June was the lowest recorded for June globally, mainly due to record sea ice levels in Antarctica. also according to NOAA.
There were nine tropical cyclones in June, defined as storms with winds greater than 74 miles per hour, and cumulative global cyclone energy, a measure of the collective duration and strength of tropical storms, was nearly double its average value for 1991-2020 in June, NOAA said.
As of Friday morning, 93 million people in the United States are under excessive heat warnings and heat advisories, according to the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, according to a newsletter published on Friday morning. “A scorching heat wave is forecast to engulf much of the West Coast, the Great Basin and the Southwest,” the National Weather Service said.
A person receives medical attention after collapsing at a convenience store on July 13, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. EMT was called after the person said he experienced hot flashes, dizziness, fatigue and chest pain. Record temperatures continue to rise as prolonged heat waves sweep across the Southwest.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images News | fake images
Flooding in downtown Montpelier, Vermont on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Vermont has been in a state of emergency since Sunday night as heavy rains continued into Tuesday morning causing flooding across the state .
The Washington Post | The Washington Post | fake images
On June 27, Canada surpassed the record set in 1989 for total area burned in a season when it reached 7.6 million hectares, or 18.8 million acres. And since then, the total has risen to 9.3 million hectares, or 23 million acres, which is being driven by record high temperatures, turning vegetation into fuelwood for wildfires.
Those record-breaking wildfires in Canada have blanketed parts of the United States in smoke, causing some of the world’s worst at various points.
A view of the city as smoke from the wildfires in Canada fills the sky on June 30, 2023 in New York City, United States. Canadian wildfires create dangerous haze as air quality index hits 160 in New York City. People have been warned to avoid outdoor physical activities and those who spend time outdoors have been advised to wear well-fitting face masks when air quality is unhealthy.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | fake images
In all of 2022, there was 18 billion dollars separated Weather and climate disasters based on NOAA data, including tornado outbreaks, high winds, hailstorms, tropical cyclones, floods, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires. So far, there have been $12 billion in weather and climate disasters in 2023, according to NOAA.
“This year will almost certainly break records for the number of extreme weather events.” Paul Ullrichprofessor of regional and global climate modeling at the University of California at Davis, he told CNBC.
Global warming is making extreme weather events more severe, the scientists said.
“Our own research shows that the observed trend toward more frequent persistent summer weather extremes (heat waves, flooding) is being driven by human-caused warming,” Mann told CNBC.
Ulrich agrees. “Increases in the frequency and intensity of heat waves, floods and wildfires can be directly attributed to climate change,” Ullrich told CNBC.
A wildfire burns over the Fraser River Valley near Lytton, British Columbia, Canada, on Friday, July 2, 2021. A prolonged heat wave continues to fuel dozens of wildfires in Canada’s western provinces, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an emergency meeting of a cabinet crisis group to address the matter.
Mayor Bloomberg | Mayor Bloomberg | fake images
“Through the emission of greenhouse gases, we have been trapping more heat near the surface, leading to increases in temperature, more moisture in the air, and a drier land surface,” Ullrich said. “Scientists are fully confident that the increased frequency and intensity of extreme events is a direct consequence of human modification of the climate system.”
Also in June came the weather pattern called “El Niño”.
El Niño is like adding lighter fuel to an already smoldering fire. “Under emerging El Niño conditions, temperatures are rising around the world, further exacerbating temperature increases caused by greenhouse gas emissions,” Ullrich said.
That combination of anthropogenic climate change and El Niño is “increasing some of these extreme events,” Mann said.
Animation of sea surface temperatures for the last 6 months
El Niño, which means “little boy” in Spanish, occurs when the normal trade winds blowing west along the equator weaken and warmer waters are pushed eastward toward the west coast of the Americas. In the United States, a moderate to strong El Niño in the fall and winter correlates with wetter-than-average conditions from southern California to the Gulf Coast, and drier-than-average conditions in the Pacific Northwest and the Ohio Valley.
When global warming and El Niño hit at the same time, “it can be hard to tell if it’s just one weather event or if it’s part of a longer trend.” timothy cantyprofessor in the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Maryland, he told CNBC.
But what is clear is that climate change makes an extreme weather event more likely to occur.
“Higher temperatures from climate change are indisputable, and with each degree increase we are multiplying our risks of an extreme heat wave. In the wetter regions of the world, including the Northeast US, we expect more rain and more intense storms,” Ullrich told CNBC. “To avoid even more extreme changes, we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and act to clean up our polluted atmosphere.”
And as global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, the trend of more frequent extreme weather events is expected to continue, Mann says.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels will help moderate extreme weather trends.
An infographic titled ‘Antarctica Sea Ice Drops to Lowest in 43 Years’ created in Ankara, Turkiye on March 1, 2023. The level of sea ice surrounding the Antarctic continent has dropped to its lowest level since 1979.
Publisher #:1247611891, Getty Premium
“The good news is that the latest research shows that the surface warming that causes more extreme weather events quickly levels off when carbon emissions stop. So we can prevent all of this from getting worse by quickly decarbonizing our economy,” Mann told CNBC.
Each person’s contributions to reducing their climate footprint help, says Canty.
“People have essentially asked me ‘What can I do as an individual that matters?’ and decides to do nothing and instead blame everyone else. Honestly, it’s societies made up of individuals that have gotten us to this point,” Canty said.
People can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by making small changes like turning off the lights when they’re not in a room, turning down the heat or turning up the air conditioning when they’re not home, avoiding food waste, and using public transportation.
Voting also matters a lot, Canty said. Government leaders have made successful inroads on international environmental crises in the past, Canty said, pointing to the Montreal Protocol. “There is a roadmap to work together to solve environmental problems in ways that benefit everyone,” Canty said.
“Addressing the ozone hole required governments, scientists and business to work together and the Montreal Protocol and its amendments have been very successful not only for ozone but also for the climate,” Canty said, noting that the same chemicals that deplete ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, are also very bad greenhouse gases. “The ozone hole is slowly recovering, and thanks to measures taken in the 1980s, we’ve prevented even worse global warming, and we still have air conditioning and hairspray, which seemed like the big panic. at that moment”.
However, if individuals and organizations do not commit to aggressively reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, then this extreme weather battery is a harbinger of the future.
“If we don’t act, what we’re seeing right now is just the tip of the proverbial melting iceberg,” Mann told CNBC.