Droughts have ravaged the northern hemisphere this summer, with low rainfall and record high temperatures affecting Europe, China and the United States at intensities that can now be expected every 20 years in the current climate, according to a recent World Weather Attribution study.
The study was conducted by scientists from France, the Netherlands, India, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study found that human-caused climate impacts make such devastating droughts 20 times more likely today. Europe recorded its worst drought in 500 years, the western United States suffered extreme drought conditions not seen in 1,200 years and China’s longest river, the Yangtze, recorded its lowest levels since 1865.
Such droughts would only occur once every 400 years in a world without climate change, but in a world where humans have dramatically increased the rate of warming, such events are now much more frequent and much worse. In Europe, scientists estimate that climate change has made drought three to four times more severe than it otherwise would have been.
“The analyzed models also show that soil dryness will continue to increase with further global warming, which is consistent with long-term trends predicted in climate models,” the authors warned.
Soaring weather patterns have already led to widespread wildfires this year, leading to major crop losses in some regions and increasing pressures on global food prices in an already macroeconomic environment of global inflation. high and supply chain issues. As these weather events become more common and more disruptive, the costs will only increase across the economic and humanitarian spectrum.
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The increase in direct climate impacts is pushing governments and individuals to become more aggressive when it comes to climate initiatives. The Governor of California recently adopted a stricter timeline for the transition to net zero for the state. As Europe faces an energy crisis, the EU remains committed to a net zero target by 2050.
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