In 2023, we’re witnessing unprecedented extreme weather phenomena across the globe. Without significant climate intervention, such events will be commonplace in ten years, warn top climate scientists.
Present-day heatwaves, wildfires, and floods are merely a precursor of more severe occurrences on the horizon. The current limitations of climate modeling have left us ill-prepared for what’s to come.
The continuous carbon emissions are pushing our planet towards a dangerous phase of rapid destruction. The Guardian consulted over 40 experts globally to gain insight into the matter.
These experts confirm that the surge in global temperature aligns with predictions made over decades, heightened this year by the return of the El Niño weather phenomenon. They emphasized that the world is witnessing new climate extremes and unrecorded vulnerabilities.
Prof. Piers Forster of the University of Leeds remarked, “July recorded the highest temperature ever. If global climate action isn’t prioritized, this extreme will be a regular summer occurrence in a decade.”
In 2023, records related to heat and wildfires were smashed globally. Cassou noted that these changes seem accelerated because we’re entering unfamiliar territories more often.
While climate models predict temperature rises due to increased greenhouse gas emissions, predicting extreme weather specifics remains challenging. Dr. Raúl Cordero, formerly of the University of Santiago, Chile, warned, “Our understanding of future climate extremes might be lacking.”
Despite the alarming events, we haven’t reached the point of no return in climate change. However, as Dr. Rein Haarsma from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute states, certain events could trigger devastating tipping points, like the melting of Antarctic ice sheets.
But there’s hope. A narrow opportunity exists to mitigate the worst of the climate disaster. Scientists unanimously point to one critical step: ceasing fossil fuel consumption. Dr. Friederike Otto from Imperial College London stressed the immediacy, saying, “We need to stop burning fossil fuels right now.”
Given the growing urgency, the UN will host a climate ambition summit on September 20. Amina Mohammed, the UN’s deputy secretary general, emphasized, “Our climate indicators are deteriorating. The next five years could be the warmest ever, with vulnerable communities bearing the brunt. We anticipate strong commitments from all sectors at the summit.”
The foremost climate conference 2023, Cop28, is slated for November, hosted by the United Arab Emirates. With carbon emissions rising, a 43 percent drop is vital to limit global warming below 1.5C.