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Extreme weather to rise even if Paris goals are met: study

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The risk of extreme weather such as heat waves, floods and drought will rise significantly even if the commitments in the 2015 Paris climate accord are met, a study warned on Wednesday.

The report in the journal Science Advances analyzes the likelihood of hot spells, dry periods and excess rain in the coming years, all phenomena that are exacerbated by global warming and rising seas.

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Already, the dire consequences of climate change are becoming clear. A new record was shattered in 2017 for the costliest year in history for hurricanes, fires, floods, drought and other extreme storm events, totaling $306 billion.

“These rising costs are one of many signs that we are not prepared for today’s climate, let alone for another degree of global warming,” said lead author Noah Diffenbaugh, a researcher at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

“We can use this kind of research to make decisions that both build resilience now and help us be prepared for the climate that we will face in the future.”

– Extreme weather forecast –

The individual commitments by more than 190 nations under the Paris Agreement are forecast to limit the warming of the planet to between 3.6 and 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (two and three degrees Celsius).

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But this level of warming is “likely to lead to substantial and widespread increases in the probability of historically unprecedented extreme events,” said the report.

“We find that humans have already increased the probability of historically unprecedented hot, warm, wet, and dry extremes, including over 50 to 90 percent of North America, Europe, and East Asia,” said the study led by researchers at Stanford University, Columbia University and Dartmouth College.

Under the current national commitments, heat waves are more than five times as likely over half of Europe and one quarter of Asia.

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Heavy rains are three times as likely over more than a third of North America, Europe, and East Asia.

The Paris accord aspired for even deeper cuts that would limit warming to 2.7 F (1.5 C).

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This more aggressive scenario would limit but not eliminate the risk of extreme weather, the report found.

About 10 percent of most regions of the world would still see a tripling in risk of extreme weather.

And about 90 percent of North America, Europe, East Asia and the tropics “still exhibit sizable increases in the probability of record-setting hot, wet, and/or dry events.”

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Diffenbaugh said meeting the deeper, “aspirational” goals would make a difference.

“At the same time, even if those aspirational targets are reached, we still will be living in a climate that has substantially greater probability of unprecedented events than the one we’re in now,” he said.


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Five things to watch for at the Grammys

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Music's glitterati will sparkle on the red carpet at this Sunday's Grammy awards, which honors the top hits and artists of the year.

Scandal at the Recording Academy, which puts on the show, has overwhelmed the lead-up to the glam event, but there are still plenty of musical moments to watch for.

Here is our quick guide to the event, which will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles:

- Women poised to lead -

Women dominated at last year's gala and are leading the pack this year as well, with the twerking flautist Lizzo and the teenage goth-pop phenomenon Billie Eilish expected to battle for the top awards.

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Mexican children take up arms in fight against drug gangs

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With baseball caps and scarves covering their faces, only their serious eyes are visible as a dozen children stand to attention, rifles by their side.

In the heart of the violence-plagued Mexican state of Guerrero, learning to use weapons starts at an early age.

In the village of Ayahualtempa, at the foot of a wooded hill, the basketball court serves as a training ground for these youths, aged between five and 15.

The children practice with rifles and handguns or makeshift weapons in various drill positions for a few hours every week.

"Position three!" yells instructor Bernardino Sanchez, a member of the militia responsible for the security of 16 villages in the Guerrero area, which goes by the name of Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities (CRAC-PF).

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Delta fined $50,000 for discriminating against Muslim passengers

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Delta Air Lines was Friday fined $50,000 by the US Department of Transportation to settle allegations it discriminated against three Muslim passengers who were ordered off their planes.

In its consent order, the department said it found Delta "engaged in discriminatory conduct" and violated anti-discrimination laws when it removed the three passengers.

In one incident on July 26, 2016, a Muslim couple were removed from Delta Flight 229 at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris after a passenger told a flight attendant their behavior made her "very uncomfortable and nervous".

"Mrs X" was wearing a head scarf and the passenger said "Mr X" had inserted something into his watch.

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