Climate change is happening faster than expected, study finds


Climate change is accelerating so rapidly that the southern hemisphere is already experiencing intense winter storms originally predicted for 2080, according to an Israeli research team.

The long-term cumulative effect of these storms is to transfer heat away from the tropics, which has, in turn, already caused the polar regions to warm up to 30 degrees Centigrade.

A new study, published by the researchers in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change, describes the global outlook as “grim”.

The team, based in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science, analyzed huge volumes of data from 30 climate model simulations around the world, as well as observations of current storms. .

They concluded that Earth’s climate is changing faster than expected and storms in the Southern Hemisphere are already at levels of intensity not expected until 2080.

Storms play a vital role in the transfer of heat, moisture and momentum through the atmosphere and have a significant impact on climate.

Dr. Rei Chemke with an illustration of future changes on the Earth’s surface. Photo courtesy of Weizmann Institute of Science

“A winter storm is a weather phenomenon that lasts only a few days. Individually, each storm does not have much climatic weight,” said Dr Rei Chemke, who led the research team.

“However, the long-term effect of winter storms becomes evident when evaluating cumulative data collected over long periods of time.”

“An example of this is the role storms play in regulating temperature at the Earth’s poles. Winter storms are responsible for the majority of heat transport from the tropics to the poles.

His team, in collaboration with Dr Yi Ming, from Princeton University and Dr Janni Yuval from MIT, limited their study to the southern hemisphere, but believe it’s a similar picture in the northern hemisphere, but not as pronounced.

Their findings, along with those of other leading research institutes, will feed into a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report, which will help develop climate change strategies. ‘adaptation.

The researchers conclude that climate projections for the coming decades are more severe than previous assessments. In particular, they suggest that human activity may have a greater impact on the southern hemisphere than previously thought.

They call for swift and decisive action to stem climate damage there and to correct a bias in climate models to provide more accurate climate projections.

“The models do a very good job of predicting almost any parameter,” Chemke says, such as temperature changes, precipitation, sea ice and summer storm patterns, but cautions that they need to take into account the winter storms that his team identified as a critical factor.

Incorporating their findings should allow experts to more accurately estimate the extent of damage caused by climate change.


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