They conducted this research in the run-up to the new global climate summit, which begins in Dubai at the end of this month. It is known that the current climate policy of all countries combined is insufficient to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Earlier this year, there were already reports of record temperatures being set in individual months. Researchers warn that temperatures will continue to rise and weather will become more extreme until world leaders ensure greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
Extreme heat waves
The analysis examined the extent to which climate change affects temperatures in different locations around the world. One in four people worldwide (1.9 billion people) were exposed to severe heatwaves during that period. This heat is usually accompanied by strong air pollution.
During the year, 90% of all people (7.3 billion people) experienced a period of at least ten hot days, which are becoming more extreme due to climate change.
The El Niño climate phenomenon and lower emissions from shipping, which made the air cleaner but also increased the intensity of solar radiation, played a small role. A much larger factor is the combustion of fossil fuels.
“There is only a small fraction of natural fluctuations in temperature rise of 1.3 degrees,” says researcher Frederik Otto. “The majority is due to greenhouse gas emissions.”
The situation in the Netherlands
The situation in the Netherlands has been nothing special over the past twelve months. “The Netherlands got away with dancing during that period,” says KNMI’s Bart Verhegen. But he says the research clearly shows that people around the world are living in a different climate now than they did 150 years ago. “The extremes are particularly striking, and it is precisely these extremes that have the greatest impact on people’s lives.”
In the report, researchers highlighted various extreme weather events. For example, large parts of South America were much warmer than average during the first half of last year. In the United States, more than 380 people were killed in more than twenty different weather events and damage amounted to nearly $70 billion.
Canada and Hawaii have been hit by major wildfires. There were 93 casualties in Hawaii. There were also consequences in the European Union. For example, part of Spain experienced its driest period in 500 years. Extreme weather in Africa killed 15,700 people.
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