In Banak, in the far north of Norway above the Arctic Circle, a few days ago you felt like you were in Syracuse. It reached 34.3 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature ever recorded at these latitudes. In Lapland, the thermometer rose to 32.5 degrees, which is more than 15 degrees compared to the average for that period. We are not doing much to slow the current climate crisis. “Last year, concentrations of major greenhouse gases have increased – condemned by the United Nations – while the average global temperature has been around 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, dangerously close to the 1.5°C limit set byParis Climate Agreement“.
Extreme heat: what is happening to the climate and what are the consequences
According to one studio Published in the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), within 50 years many places on Earth, especially in Asia, Africa, Australia and South America, could become uninhabitable due to potentially deadly high temperatures, with summer averages exceeding 40 degree c. This day takes place in the desert. You die of heat, which is not a cliché. The problem is devastating as it looms, because its extreme heat will also have a cost in terms of human lives, especially for those who live in the most vulnerable countries that have few resources to adapt at least in part to rising temperatures. Air conditioning is not enough to deal with global warming: those who need it most in the world cannot afford it, moreover, air conditioning contributes to global warming.
The problem is related to broader social issues: the “quality” of the home one lives in, the work that is done, the availability of water, and health care. Not thousands of years ago but already in the century we are witnessing, in the space of two generations, an increase in global temperatures could pose a risk to millions of people in different regions of the planet. Desert temperatures can cause mass migrations to more livable areas with a less oppressive climate, as well as damage the fertility of the land, causing serious health problems and multiplying extreme natural phenomena (hurricanes, droughts, fires, melting glaciers and raising the ocean level.). To understand more, we asked Edoardo Ferrara, theoretical physicist and meteorologist at 3bmeteo.com, a few questions.
Record heat resulted in hundreds of casualties in Canada. Sudden and unexpected deaths for which extreme weather conditions are a decisive factor. Of the various climate threats that experts associate with global warming, heat waves are the closest we can feel. Let’s not talk about a distant future: the past six years have been the hottest ever anywhere in the world. what happens?
“Global warming is a well-established trend, particularly from the 2000s onwards where we have had an unforgiving sequence of warming wines globally. This does not rule out that cold waves or phases characterized by lower temperatures may occur locally. Average , but more and more “islands” or short arcs remain in a very hot global climate. In this context, heat waves can be more frequent and continuous, a fact that we also witness in Italy. Specifically, the Mediterranean proves one of the Most sensitive and vulnerable to climate change. In a warmer environment on average, rain is often more intense but concentrated in space, alternating with more permanent dry phases.”
What could be the consequences of extreme heat in Europe and Italy?
“The most direct consequences are certainly environmental but also social and economic. In a warmer environment, it is clear that some species of animals and plants that are not accustomed to higher temperatures will suffer. On the other hand, ‘exotic’ species can find an ideal habitat, that is not indigenous. , such as various insects including Asian bugs, and tiger mosquitoes.At the same time, the agricultural sector can also be severely affected by the heat: this is the current case of Centrosud Italia which is experiencing temperatures well above average for days, lasting for several days now It does not rain with locally severe drought conditions. The economic damage is very great. To all this is added the state of physical discomfort with extremely negative consequences for our bodies, especially for the most sensitive subjects. To face heat, energy demand, which is not always able to meet the required needs: It is not uncommon to encounter power outages during peak periods due to the high energy demand for the use of air conditioners.Last but not least, the meteorological aspect: in a warmer environment, there is inevitably more power available for the These are the weather that can therefore be more extreme. For example, thunderstorms may be less frequent but more violent. On the other hand, in autumn, the turbulence of the Atlantic Ocean, which interacts with the average sea temperature, can be characterized by more heavy rains.
Is part of our land already at risk of desertification today?
Actually this is inappropriate. Even in a warm environment, heavy rains can fall, albeit alternating with larger droughts. For example, precipitation in Sicily was above average after 2000.
Based on the temperature trend in recent years, how do you think we will live in twenty years in an Italian city like Rome or Milan?
“We will have to get used to living with often above average temperatures, both in summer and in winter, but with clearly more severe consequences for our bodies during the summer. Moreover, the heat increases in urban areas, where Discomfort remains high even during the evening hours, when concrete releases heat, which delays the physiological drop in temperatures, and often increases relative humidity, thus increasing the sensation of heat.This does not mean that it will always be hot or temperatures will rise.They are always above average. : There may be cold phases in which temperatures are below average, but gradually they become less frequent and of short duration.”
The planet has been warming for decades and will likely continue to do so. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the solution to the global warming problem. Are we doing enough?
“No, due to the lack of a common vision between different countries, we are not all heading in the same direction. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions remains a primary and primary goal, but climate response times will be long and we may have already run out of time.”