“This summer taught us that we are in the middle climate crisiss and that the effects it’s here, all around us,” said environmentalist Stefan Ramstorff. “We’re heading towards one climate disaster on a global level, if we do not act quickly and decisively”, he underlined.
Indeed, this summer the extreme weather conditions followed each other: already in the spring in India an extreme and untimely heat wave was recorded, with the temperature often exceeding 45 degrees Celsius. In June a “heat dome” covered 120 million Americans, with a series of storms and floods following it. Meanwhile, the western part of the US is suffering from a two-decade drought, the worst in 12 centuries.
In Spain and Portugal they broke out huge fires, a glacier crashed in Italy killing five people. China is experiencing a historic drought affecting half of the country, with the iconic Yangtze River, a vital source of drinking water and power generation, running dry in many places.
Based on predictions
Although it is too early to attribute either phenomenon to climate change, their accumulation appears to be following predictions.
“The rise in global temperature due to use of fossil fuels it had been correctly predicted since the 1970s,” recalled Ramstorf of the Potsdam Institute PIK.
The heat waves repeat, they have longer duration and they are even warmer and “the magnitude of the phenomenon corresponds to what was predicted”, as was the increase in heavy rainfall and drought, “which were predicted three decades ago”.
“Europe is a hot spot for heatwaves, tending to experience heatwaves three or four times faster than other regions at a similar latitude in the Northern Hemisphere.”
In Britain for the first time this year the temperature exceeded 40 degrees Celsius, while opposite, on the French coast, the temperature was 4 to 5 degrees above normal.
“We can ask ourselves if the drought that hit it North hemisphere 2022 may be considered one of the worst in modern history due to its scope and intensity,” said Omar Badous of World Meteorological Organization.
The effects of heat and drought are often cumulative. For every one degree Celsius the Earth’s temperature rises, 7% more water evaporates into the atmosphere, according to UN climate experts.
“If we do nothing”
It has effects at all levels: in Pakistan the deluge monsoons killed more than 1,100 people, submerged a third of the country under water, destroyed crops and affected 33 million people.
China, experiencing its hottest summer in six decades, increased it coal production to compensate for the limited operation of hydroelectric plants.
In Europe drought facilitated the spread of fires in many countries, corn crops in France were scorched by the heat, and fallen leaves covered the streets of London in August.
Will the summer of 2022 be the coolest of our lives? “No, there will be cooler summers than the one in 2022,” assured environmentalist Jean Jouzel, “but these hot summers will become more and more frequent” and “by 2040-2050 the summer of 2022 will be the norm.”
“It is not because we doubted the reality of climate change that we did not act and we are not going to act because we see it,” said CNRS geographer Xavier Arnaud de Chartres, estimating thatand the absence of action is due to “lack of will”.
For the American non-governmental organization Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), summer is no longer “the nice season”, but “the season of dangers”.