Extreme Weather | Is Global warming a Contributing factor?

In some cases, if not all, some types of Extreme Weather events are happening more often or are becoming more intense because of Global Warming. As Earth’s climate has warmed, a new pattern of more frequent and more intense weather events has unfolded around the world.

Scientists identify these extreme weather events based on the historical record of weather in a particular region. They consider extreme weather events to be those that produce unusually high or low levels of rain or snow, temperature, wind, or other effects.

Extreme Weather
Firefighters from Stockton, Calif., put out flames off of Hidden Valley Rd. while fighting a wildfire, Friday, May 3, 2013, in Hidden Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Mel Melcon)

Typically, these events are considered extreme if they are unlike 90% or 95% of similar weather events that happened before in that same area.

By all means, scientists use computer models to simulate weather conditions. With and without global warming and other climate change contributing factors.

By comparing different scenarios, they can identify how global warming has affected observed extreme weather events.

What is Extreme Weather?

Extreme weather events are influenced by many factors in addition to global warming. Daily and seasonal weather patterns and natural climate patterns such as El Niño or La Niña affect when and where extreme weather events take place.

For example, many studies have linked an increase in wildfire activity to global warming. In addition, the risk of fire could depend on past forest management, natural climate variability, human activities, and other factors, in addition to human-caused climate change.

Determining how much climate change contributes to extreme weather events such as wildfires continues to be studied.

Extreme Weather

Even a decade ago, it was hard to link a specific weather event, such as a heatwave or an intense rainstorm, with climate changes happening on a global scale.

However, climate scientists are getting better at making these kinds of connections, called extreme event attribution.

These studies can’t say whether global warming caused a specific event—but they can look at whether the warming climate made an event more severe or more likely to happen.

Which are Extreme Weather examples?

As an example, scientists completed extreme event attribution studies after Hurricane Harvey soaked Texas in 2017 with record-breaking rains of more than 60 inches in some places. They concluded that global warming worsened the flooding and made a Harvey-sized storm at least three times more likely.

Understanding global warming’s impacts on extreme weather is important because it can help inform choices about managing risks. For instance, if a community knows that increased rainfall from global warming has turned what was previously a “500-year flood” into a “100-year flood,” it may make different choices.

Especially, about how to manage land, what and where people can build, or whether to build a floodwall. Or more accurately: a flood that had a 1-in-500 chance of happening each year into a 1-in-100 chance of happening each year. Below are more examples of extreme weather patterns.

Heat Waves

Important to realize, Heatwaves are periods of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks. The number of heat waves has been increasing in recent years. Furthermore, this trend has continued in 2011 and 2012. With the number of intense heat waves being almost triple the long-term average.

In fact, the recent heatwaves and droughts in Texas (2011) and the Midwest (2012) set records for the highest monthly average temperatures. Analyses show that human-induced climate change has generally increased the probability of heat waves., And prolonged (multi-month) extreme heat has been unprecedented since the start of reliable instrumental records in 1895.

Drought

Higher temperatures lead to increased rates of evaporation, including more loss of moisture through plant leaves. Even in areas where precipitation does not decrease, these increases in surface evaporation and loss of water from plants lead to more rapid drying of soils (drought).

If the effects of higher temperatures are not offset by other changes (such as reduced wind speed or increased humidity). As the soil dries out, a larger proportion of the incoming heat from the sun goes into heating the soil and adjacent air rather than evaporating its moisture, resulting in hotter summers under drier climatic conditions.

Heavy Downpours

Eventually, heavy downpours (heavy rain) are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades. The heaviest rainfall events have become heavier and more frequent, and the amount of rain falling on the heaviest rain days has also increased.

Since 1991, the amount of rain falling in very heavy precipitation events has been significantly above average. This increase has been greatest in the Northeast, Midwest, and upper Great Plains – more than 30% above the 1901-1960 average.

There has also been an increase in flooding events in the Midwest and Northeast, where the largest increases in heavy rain amounts have occurred.

Floods

Flooding may intensify in many Kenyan regions, even in areas where total precipitation is projected to decline. A flood is defined as any high flow, overflow, or inundation by water that causes or threatens damage. Floods are caused or amplified by both weather- and human-related factors.

Major extreme weather factors include heavy or prolonged precipitation, snowmelt, thunderstorms, storm surges from hurricanes, and ice or debris jams. Human factors include structural failures of dams and levees, altered drainage, and land-cover alterations (such as pavement).

Hurricanes

There has been a substantial increase in most measures of Atlantic hurricane activity since the early 1980s, the period during which high-quality satellite data are available. These include measures of intensity, frequency, and duration as well as the number of strongest (Category 4 and 5) storms.

The recent increases in activity are linked, in part, to higher sea surface temperatures in the region that Atlantic hurricanes form in and move through. Numerous factors have been shown to influence these local sea surface temperatures, including natural variability, human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases, and particulate pollution.

Quantifying the relative contributions of natural and human-caused factors is an active focus of research.

Storms

Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity since the 1950s, and their tracks have shifted northward over the United States.

Other trends in severe storms, including the intensity and frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain and are being studied intensively. There has been a sizable upward trend in the number of storms causing large financial and other losses.

However, there are societal contributions to this trend, such as increases in population and wealth.

Global Warming

Above all, Global Warming can contribute to the intensity of heatwaves by increasing the chances of very hot days and nights. In addition, warming air also boosts evaporation, which can worsen drought. In the end, more drought creates dry fields and forests that are prone to catching fire, and increasing temperatures mean a longer wildfire season.

Global warming also increases water vapor in the atmosphere, which can lead to more frequent heavy rain and snowstorms.

Read Also: Climate Change | What Should we Do on Global Warming?

A warmer and moister atmosphere over the oceans makes it likely that the strongest hurricanes will be more intense, produce more rainfall, and possibly be larger. In addition, global warming causes sea level to rise, which increases the amount of seawater, along with more rainfall, that is pushed on to shore during coastal storms.

That seawater, along with more rainfall, can result in destructive flooding. While global warming is likely making hurricanes more intense, scientists don’t know yet if global warming is increasing the number of hurricanes each year. The effect of global warming on the frequency, intensity, size, and speed of hurricanes remains a subject of scientific research.

Is our Planet Heating Up instead of Cooling?

Our planet is heating up. Over the past 100 years, our Earth’s air, land, and water have increased by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The majority of that increase has occurred since 1975.

Global Warming

That might not sound like a big deal! And there is always the argument that the planet goes in cycles where it heats up and cools down. However, science has shown that humans are 99.9999 percent to blame. After all, the planet shouldn’t be heating up.

Is It Cyclical or Not?

Don’t hold out for that .0001 percent that it isn’t us. Out of all the cycles we have ever had, we’ve never created so many greenhouse gases.

Also, we’re supposed to be in a cooling trend, but the planet is heating up. If we are to blame, then we can’t rightly say that we’re in a heating cycle. And we can’t leave what we do on a day to day basis to chance.

How It Happens

Earth is heating up from an increase in greenhouse gases. The majority of these gases is CO2. However, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases make up part of this mixture.

Greenhouse gases occur from burning fossil fuels, pollution and as a result of deforestation. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere cause heat to become trapped. Our planet will continue to increase in heat the more we emit greenhouse gases.

How can I Help reduce Global Warming?

First, you need to do to stop breathing and never go on a cruise. All joking aside, think of ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.

However, it is alarming that a cruise ship puts out enough CO2 to equal a million cars per day.

We need to;
  • slow down on the number of trees that we cut down,
  • grow back forests,
  • find alternative sources instead of wood,
  • reduce CO2 emissions,
  • reduce water usage,
  • use various forms of transportation less often, and
  • take other measures to reduce our carbon footprint through other conservation methods.

Even something as simple as eating less meat can indirectly reduce your carbon footprint.

Ideally, you want a neutral carbon footprint. You can use a carbon footprint calculator to determine that amount. Regardless if you believe in global warming or not.

How do you get involved?

By all means, you can agree that the Earth has a limited amount of resources. A lot of the electricity that is sent to homes is lost along the way.

People use far too much water for it to be naturally replenished. The Earth will be in better shape if we do what we can to conserve our natural resources.

To simply put, Be a Hummingbird! And with this in mind, plant a tree ( read more about tree benefits) in your neighborhood. Equally important, download teaching materials or help fund our projects in Kenya and beyond.

However, since you choose to help, I still hope you’ll keep in touch and, as Professor Wangari Maathai used to say: do the best you can! You can read more about the best ways to fight against climate change and global warming.

Join the Movement on Climate Change!

In reality, teenagers in more than 100 countries went on Strike as of March 2019. And in particular, protesting on the failures of their leaders and their governments to take action on climate change.

So, please, watch how the single act of weather protest has led to the awakening video footage below.

Remarkably, the movement began when a 16-year-old, Tunberg, took to the streets alone in August 2018 at the Stockholm City.

As can be seen, from the Video Documentary courtesy of the VICE News, teens are taking to the streets in the lead for fighting climate change.

Not forgetting, people from various communities across the Kenyan plate are dying each day as a result of hunger. You can also read more about What is Climate Change?

Resources;

Finally, I hope the above-revised guide on Extreme Weather was helpful and supportive enough.

But, if you’ll have additional contributions, questions or even further recommendations, please Contact Us.

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