Frequent climate change

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The findings of the annual State of the Climate report make increasingly evident the rapid pace at which climate change is affecting the ability to sustain life on Earth. Its report on 2017 is no different; based on global temperatures, last year was the second or third warmest year. Sea levels rose to a record high last year, as did greenhouse gas emissions. The Arctic and Antarctic both experienced considerable ice melt, glaciers. Scientists across the globe all agree that these changes are endangering the world’s food and water supplies, and contributing to the devastating climate events – heatwaves, flooding, storms and wildfires. In its 28th annual State of the Climate report, published by the American Meteorological Society, the US agency confirmed findings from a meta-analysis in January of this year that the last three years – 2015, 2016 and 2017 – have been the hottest ever.”The four warmest years on record have occurred since 2014,” editors of the NOAA report wrote in an accompanying executive summary. NASA had ranked 2017 as the second-warmest on record, while the NOAA and the Japan Meteorological Agency put it as third-warmest; this divergence is due to differing methodologies. The year 2017 was the warmest non-El Nino year on record, the NOAA report noted.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the results of what it calls the “annual checkup for the planet”. The 28th annual State of the Climate report, published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and based on the work of more than 500 scientists in 65 countries, confirmed 2017 as the second or third warmest year on record, depending on the data set, and the warmest without a temperature-boosting El Niño event. Surface temperatures in 2017 were 0.38­-0.48° Celsius above the 1981 to 2010 average. The report also had bad news for carbon dioxide levels, which reached 405 parts per million, the highest in at least 800,000 years. The oceans were especially hard hit, both in terms of sea level rise and temperature. The report found that sea level rise broke a new record of around 3 inches above the 1993 average. Sea surface temperatures had an average slightly below 2016’s, but continued their upward trend, and the heat contributed to continued coral bleaching. Between 2014 and 2017, more than 95 percent of the corals in some reefs died. Sea levels in 2017 were, on average, the highest in the satellite record. NOAA oceanographer Greg Johnson told the Huffington Post that the feedback loops set in motion by climate change would continue to impact the oceans for years, even if emissions stopped tomorrow.2017 was also a perilous year for Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. In the Arctic, maximum sea ice extent was the lowest since record-keeping began 38 years ago. In Antarctica, sea ice coverage fell on March 1 to 811,000 square miles, the lowest it has been since the satellite record began in 1978.When it came to extreme weather, the number of tropical cyclones was slightly above average. Areas affected by drought dropped during the beginning of the year, but climbed back up to above average levels by the end.
North America commenced the year with very warm conditions across much of the continent. The 2017 continental temperature for North America was the sixth highest yearly temperature on record. Cold temperatures engulfed much of Europe at the start of 2017, with Austria experiencing one of its coldest Januarys since 1987, while the Netherlands had the coldest January since 2010. Then warmer temperatures affected the region throughout the rest of the year. Overall, Europe had its fifth highest temperature on record. Portugal had its second warmest year on record, with a national temperature departure from average of +1.1°C (2.0°F), behind the record year of 1997. Germany reported an annually-averaged temperature that was 9.6°C (49.3°F) or 0.7°C (1.3°F) above the 1981-2010 average. This value ranked among the eight warmest years since national records began in 1881.The United Kingdom’s annually-averaged temperature of 9.6°C (49.3°F) was 0.7°C (1.3°F) above the 1981-2010 average and the fifth warmest year since national records began in 1910. The year was characterized by warmer-than-average conditions during much of the first half of the year, with the second half seeing temperatures closer to average. The months of February through June recorded monthly temperature departures from average that were greater than +1.0°C (+1.8°F).
Asia’s 2017 regional temperature ranked as the third highest in the 108-year record, behind 2015 (highest) and 2007 (second highest). Much of the year was characterized by much-warmer-than-average conditions across much of Asia. Russia and China had their highest January-September temperature since national records began. Hong Kong experienced unusually warm conditions during 2017, having its warmest January, summer (June-August), and September on record. Averaged as a whole, the 2017 mean temperature for Hong Kong was 23.9°C (75.0°F) or 0.6°C (1.1°F) above the 1981-2010 average. 2017 ranked among the three warmest years since records began in 1884. New Zealand had its fifth warmest year on record, with a yearly temperature of 13.15°C (55.67°F), which is 0.54°C (0.97°F) above the 1981-2010 average. Only 2016, 2013, 1999, and 1998 were warmer than 2017.Much-warmer-than-average conditions engulfed much of Australia during 2017.
Pakistan is ranked on 7th position, with a death toll of 523.1 lives per year i.e. 10,462 lives lost in 20 years and economic losses worth US $ 3.8 billion – equivalent to 0.605 percent of the GDP in the 20 year period. During this time, Pakistan had suffered from 141 extreme weather events – let it be cyclones, storms, floods, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) and heatwaves, etc. In last year’s long-term index (1996 to 2015 average), Pakistan held the same 7th position.’ Pakistan frequently affected from heavy monsoons’. David Eckstein, one of the main authors of the study said that over the past many years, Pakistan has been one of the most affected countries vulnerable to climate change. Over the past 20 years, if we look at the extreme weather events in Pakistan, heavy rainfalls and flooding has severely affected the lives and livelihoods of people. Floods have badly affected the agriculture sector which has compromised the GDP targets too. In the past, heatwaves and possible cold waves have also posed a threat to the people. David also said, “Pakistan should think of reducing its emissions, which can help to reduce the risk of extreme weather events in its country. Emission reduction is a responsibility not only of developed countries but also of under-developed and developing ones, as it’s in their own benefits, and it offers a lot of co-benefits too.”Pakistan is getting recurrently affected from extreme weather events both in the short-term and long-term index. The super floods of 2010 placed Pakistan on the top slot among the countries most affected by climate change as it lost US $25.3 billion and 5.4 per cent of the GDP, according to Germanwatch.