We’re almost in May 2015, but the weather seems to disagree – it’s still rather cold and the seasons seem to be behind schedule. We’re experiencing an unusual late spring, with trees barely sprouting some green leaves and just a few in bloom.
Ask an environmentalist, and he will tell you it’s because of global warming. It doesn’t matter that it’s snowing or it’s hot outside – either way, the sole cause is global warming. No matter where you look, you can’t help but see someone or another blaming something on global warming and urging us to make changes so the Earth won’t perish.
Others believe that this is just a deliberate plot of manufacturing mass panic causing a lot of governments to spend hundreds of billions in attempts of reversing the irreversible.
Soon enough, however, we’ll start complaining about the monstrously hot weather that makes us icky and sweaty and we’ll surely blame those days on global warming as well. There is, in fact, a new report that showed the connection between 3 out of 4 such days to humanity’s print left on the climate.
The study released in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday estimates that not long after we’ll reach mid-century, extremely hot days caused by greenhouse gases will already be in the range of 95 percent.
Our effect on the heavy downpours, however, is not as great. The team of Swiss scientists that conducted the study estimated that only approximately 18 percent of extremely rainy phenomena can be blamed on global warming. Have the Earth increase its temperature with only two degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) though, and that will change drastically.
Not just hot days – heavy rain, too
As the estimation states in the study, we should expect that around mid-century, almost 40 percent of heavy rainstorms will be attributed to the bad influence humans have on the climate. A lot of that negative influence comes from greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide formed when we burn of gas, coal, and oil.
Even though he did not take part in this research, climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck from the University of Arizona said that it actually helps us understand better what are the odds or the probability that humans indeed have a great influence.
He commented that it’s as simple as this: if you’re among the complainers about the hot temperature extremes, you now know how you can reduce the number of such days by limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate scientist Erich Fischer and lead author from ETH Zurich, a Swiss university, and his fellow researcher Reto Knutti focused only on the hottest of hot days. By means of 25 different computer prediction models, Fischer and Knutti worked on a simulated world where human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are non-existent.
The result was surprising: in this ideal world, the hottest-hot days only happened once every three years. After they compared this model to the one acting out the current level of heat-trapping gases, they found out the number increased to 4 days every three years.
Finding a solution by pricing greenhouse emissions
Based on the current pollution tendencies, the scientist created a third scenario, where the greenhouse gases are trending higher each year. This model wanted to simulate how the world would look like about mid-century, and the results showed a drastic increase to 26 of super-hot days – almost a month.
Even though Fischer and Knutti’s estimations apply on a global scale, they were still able to identify that Africa and South America are in the top with the highest percentages of unusual hot days caused by human influence: 89 percent and 88 percent respectively.
Europe and North America came in the lowest ranks with 63 and 67 percent respectively. However, a continuous trend in the current direction will have all continents blaming humans for at least 93 percent of super-hot days.
Where singular strange weather phenomena are concerned, both human activity and natural variation are at play as involved factors in its creation. This study, however, wants to answer the question of just how big is the humanity’s influence and how much is natural variation to blame.
And when we know what the percentages are and how many deaths, costs and damages can be attributed to human influence, governments will have an easier task of putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions.
Image Source: I-fink
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