As 2014 came to an end, teams of climate scientists all over the world have concluded that this year was the hottest globally. Nine out of 10 years that were analyzed have been declared the hottest years ever recorded, and that only since 2000. 1965 is the last known year when a record cold year was declared.
And what could be the reason? Climate change under the influence of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is a unanimous response. If 2014 warm climate was driven by the warming of the Earth’s oceans, it can be expected that 2015 will only continue the trend.
Detractors of climate change science might argue that record hot temperatures are not felt throughout the world. And they are right, only this is an argument for climate change science, not against it. The world does not warm uniformly, but extreme weather events in regard to geographical locations are happening as we speak.
The US did not warm equally on its vast territory, but while the eastern territory experienced a rather cool 2014, parts of its western territories were on fast track for record hot temperatures. Europe was boiling.
So record hot days might become a day to day occurrence which is set to change the world as we know it: who is to blame? A new study conducted by climate scientists at the ETH Zurich and published in the journal Nature Climate Change connects three of four record hot days to the human factor. GHGs, mostly carbon dioxide from the industrial burning of coal, oil and gas are responsible for the heating of the planet as they retain heat in the atmosphere.
In the study, Erich Fischer and Reto Knutti examined only the hottest one-tenth of one percent. Running the scenario of a world without human-made GHGs through 25 computer models, the Swiss climate scientist discovered that hot days would only happen once every three years. In these computer models they then introduced the heat trapping GHGs and the number changed: four days.
According to their study South America has one of the highest number of hot days that can be blamed on human influence, 88 percent. In North America, the percentage falls at 67 percent. Europe stands at 63 per cent, while Africa has the highest percentage of record high temperatures, at 89 percent.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. In March, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the period from January to March 2015 the hottest on their long record of keeping track of temperatures, amounting to 135 years of experience. NASA also came to support the claim.
Under these circumstances and taking into consideration the effects that human-made climate change can have on human lives, it should be easier for governments to reach a meaningful deal in December, when the highest climate change conference is set to take place in Paris. Putting a real price on carbon dioxide and making it binding in order to save millions should be one of the solutions.
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