A recent draft report from the world’s leading climate scientists reveals that the Earth will experience more severe weather events in the future due to climate change.
While this news may not come as a surprise to many, this particular analysis of climate change marks a new chapter for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Previously, most of the IPCC’s work focused on analyzing the more subtle effects of climate change, namely average temperatures over time. But the forthcoming IPCC report centers more on intense floods, droughts, heat waves, and monsoons, which could be the source of considerable social and economic costs in the 21st century.
As the planet continues to warm, we will probably observe a marked shift in the duration and severity of storms. This is because as air warms, it is able to hold more water and transmit increasing amounts of energy to the weather system. The report suggests that intense single-day rainstorms which usually happen once every 20 years could occur as frequently as once every 10 years. Some regions may be so severely hit by extreme weather that they could become “marginally habitable.”
Already, the U.S. has exhibited unusual weather throughout 2011, including record-breaking temperatures and severe droughts in the South and Midwest. The report claims that heat waves could peak as high as 5 degrees by 2050 and 9 degrees by 2100.
As this was not an official release, the IPCC’s lead authors offered no comment regarding the draft’s contents. However, the full report will most likely be released in a few weeks after a meeting in Uganda.
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