Extreme weather events in 2022 show the urgency of immediate action.

Dec 26, 2022 | Current affairs, Featured, Post, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

Floods in Pakistan, prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa, and heat waves in Europe are just some of the effects of climate change that will be felt more frequently from now on as long as no action is taken to mitigate global warming.

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This year, weather, water and climate-related disasters such as extreme floods, heat and drought claimed many lives, affected millions of people and cost billions of dollars, highlighting the rapid advance of human-induced climate change and the urgency of acting before it is too late, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Friday.

In an end-of-2022 note, the UN agency stressed the need for decisive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to implement climate change adaptation policies.

Scientific measurements have shown that the last eight will be the eight warmest since records have been kept. The persistence of a La Niña event will prevent 2022 from being the warmest year on record, but its cooling effect will be short-lived and will not reverse the long-term warming trend caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

According to forecasts by the UK Met Office, the average global temperature in 2023 would be between 1.08°C and 1.32°C above the pre-industrial level, very close to the 1.5°C maximum targets set by the Paris Agreement for the end of the century.

Adaptation measures
To highlight the severity of the planet’s temperature rise, the UN agency’s secretary-general cited a series of weather disasters this year, such as floods in Pakistan and prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa, which portends a humanitarian catastrophe.

“It is imperative to improve preparedness for such extreme events and to ensure that we meet the UN’s goal of early warnings for all within the next five years,” said Petteri Taalas, referring to the adaptation measures that are needed.

Record highs
The agency explained that, in addition to greenhouse gases, sea level, heat content and ocean acidification are also at record highs.

It specified that the rate of sea level rise has doubled since 1993, increasing by almost 10mm since January 2020. The last two and a half years alone account for 10% of the overall increase since satellite measurements began nearly 30 years ago.

In addition, glaciers in the Alps experienced unprecedented melting. The Greenland ice sheet lost mass for the 26th consecutive year and, for the first time, it rained instead of snow at the summit.

The Arctic is also warmer, wetter and stormier.

The WMO noted that while 2022 did not break global temperature records, there were a number of national heat records in many parts of the world.

Weather and climate catastrophes – extreme floods, heat and drought – affected millions of people and cost billions in 2022, as the telltale signs and effects of climate change intensify.