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Extreme Heat Waves Sweep the Globe in 2023 as Climate Disasters Intensify Due to Global Warming

  Since the beginning of summer this year, the common feeling of people all over the world is one word: hot!
  Entering June, Tokyo, Japan has exceeded 35°C for 9 consecutive days, which is the worst heat wave since records began in 1870. In mid-July, Britain, which has always been known for its cool summer, experienced the first high temperature weather above 40°C in history. Wildfires caused by extreme heat spread across European countries including France, Spain, Greece, and Germany. At the same time, heat waves across China are also one after another.
  The well-known scientific journal “Nature” published an article saying that the current high temperature weather may only be the prelude to the future. Experts generally believe that high temperature records will be broken many times this year, and today’s global temperature is in “uncharted territory”.
  ”Nature” magazine revealed that researchers from various countries have been conducting research on this year’s historically rare heat wave non-stop – they are particularly interested in how extreme high temperatures will affect future human society.
  ”The scientific community has actually studied the possibility of these events (extreme heat) happening, but seeing them happening around me is still unbelievable,” said climate scientist Eunice Lou of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

   Wang Yuanfeng, director of the Carbon Neutral Technology and Strategy Research Center of Beijing Jiaotong University, pointed out that we should not think of high temperature weather as simply “summer is hotter”, but should understand extreme high temperature as a meteorological disaster.
Extreme heat, the tip of the iceberg

  In June 2023, temperatures in many parts of the world exceeded all-time highs.
  On June 21, the highest temperature in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, exceeded 45°C for the third consecutive day, and the highest temperature in Monclova exceeded 46°C for the third consecutive day. On this day, the highest temperature in Nokundi, Pakistan reached an astonishing 49°C, and Zabol, Iran even soared to 50.8°C, becoming the highest in the world that day.
  On June 22, 23, and 24, the highest temperature in Beijing, China, exceeded 40°C for three consecutive days. The temperatures measured by the Beijing Southern Suburb Observatory were as high as 41.1°C, 40.3°C, and 40.0°C respectively. ℃ high temperature record.
  According to the data released by the Climate Change Institute of the University of Maine in the United States, the global average temperature record was broken three times in one week just after entering July: On July 3, the global average temperature reached 17.01°C, the highest temperature in the world since 1979. A hot day; on July 4th, the global average temperature continued to rise to 17.18°C; on July 6th, the record was refreshed again, reaching 17.23°C.
  Francis, a senior expert at the Woodwell Climate Institute in the United States, even believes that the first week of July 2023 is likely to be “the hottest week in 100,000 years” after making data calculations.
  In August 2022, the “Nature” magazine published a long article pointing out that an important feature of the current global high temperature is “concurrent heat waves”: not only extreme high temperatures occur, but also occur simultaneously in many places around the world. Their research found that from 1979 to 2019, the frequency of “combined heat waves” worldwide increased by a full fivefold.
  Moreover, extreme heat is only the tip of the iceberg of global extreme weather disasters. In the “disaster package”, there are also various climate events such as heavy rains, floods, droughts, wildfires, stronger typhoons, ocean acidification, and sea level rise.
  Since June this year, torrential rains have caused disasters in Haiti, resulting in the displacement of about 19,000 people. In Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador, within 12 hours, it rained the local average monthly precipitation, causing flooding and affecting the lives of tens of thousands of people. The wildfires in Canada are spreading, and the area currently burned exceeds 122,000 square kilometers.
  Wang Yuanfeng, director of the Carbon Neutral Technology and Strategy Research Center of Beijing Jiaotong University, pointed out that we should not think of high temperature weather as simply “summer is hotter”, but should understand extreme high temperature as a meteorological disaster.
  ”The international scientific community has called extreme weather a climate crisis, which will cause more and more loss of life and property, so it is necessary to arouse the whole society to attach great importance to extreme weather.” Wang Yuanfeng said.
wet to wet, dry to dry

  The root cause of frequent climate disasters such as extreme high temperatures lies in global warming.
  Wei Ke, deputy director of the Monsoon System Research Center of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, wrote that in the past few decades, the field of climate research has developed relatively mature extreme weather detection and attribution analysis methods. The International Weather Attribution Group (WWA) conducted an attribution analysis of global extreme droughts, high temperatures, heavy rains, cold waves and storms and found that almost all kinds of extreme weather can find the shadow of global warming.
  More specifically, global warming has brought about a climate effect of “wet gets wetter and drier gets drier”.
  As global temperatures rise, more heat enters the climate system and more water vapor is held in the atmosphere. When it rains, because there is more water vapor, it is more likely to cause heavy rain and flooding. In arid regions, droughts can become more severe as global temperatures rise and the air becomes less likely to saturate.
  In addition, more latent heat will be released during the condensation of water vapor, which will cause the storm to become stronger, and severe convective weather such as squall lines, downbursts, hail, and tornadoes will become more severe.
  According to the “Human Losses Caused by Disasters 2000-2019” report released by the United Nations Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Agency, in the past 20 years, the number of extreme high temperature events in the world has increased by 232%, flood disasters have increased by 134%, storms have increased by 97%, and wildfires have increased. Burns increased by 46%, and drought events increased by 29%.
  That is to say, due to global warming, we have fully entered a new phase of frequent climate disasters.
  In the long run, the trend of global warming is not only irreversible, but also accelerating. A new study published in Nature Communications suggests that Arctic sea ice could be “summer-free” by 2030, about 10 years earlier than previously estimated.
  On the surface of the broad Arctic Ocean, the sea surface freezes naturally due to lower sea surface temperatures and less solar radiation, especially during polar nights. Some sea ice grows and disappears seasonally with the rotation of polar night and polar day, forming annual ice; some sea ice does not melt all the year round due to too low temperature, forming multi-year ice.
  Sea ice has a high albedo, equivalent to 5-6 times that of the ocean, and its size determines how much sunlight enters the Earth system. Through the positive feedback mechanism of ice and snow-albedo, sea ice also acts as an amplifier in climate change.
  Dai Aiguo, a professor of the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the State University of New York at Albany, told the media that the increase in sea temperature and air temperature will directly lead to the melting of sea ice, and the melting of sea ice will further aggravate the increase in temperature. Such a feedback mechanism It will further amplify the effect of polar warming.

a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that it is one of the important issues facing China’s large and medium-sized cities, especially the coastal megacities, to plan ahead and prepare for extreme high temperature weather.
Power cuts in many countries

  The frequency of extreme weather has also put enormous pressure on the global economy, especially in tourism, transport, agriculture and energy.
  Due to “dry to dry”, wildfires have become more frequent and intense. According to the report of the United Nations Environment Programme, by 2030, extreme fire incidents will increase by 14% globally, by 30% by the end of 2050, and by 50% by the end of this century.
  This summer, a forest fire broke out in the European resort of Rhodes, Greece, burning a large area of ​​forest and at least three hotels.
  Even the deep-rooted holiday habits of Europeans are being quietly changed by extreme weather.
  Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy have always been the most popular summer resorts in Europe. But this summer, both Greece and Italy experienced extreme high temperatures exceeding 40°C, and the Italian resort of Catania even experienced a “baking day” of 46°C.
  According to data from the European Tourism Commission, the number of tourists visiting the Mediterranean this year has decreased by 10% compared with last year. Meanwhile, countries with cool summers such as the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ireland and Denmark are seeing a rise in popularity. Summer vacation has gradually become the main consideration for Europeans in summer vacation.
  In the United States, high temperatures and severe drought have caused water levels in the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to drop to critical levels. The two rivers are the main shipping arteries for coal, oil, natural gas, chemicals and commodities in the United States, and if the water levels get too low, cargo ships may be unable to navigate.
  This year, farmers all over the world may have a hard time.
  In May, heavy rains and floods broke out in parts of Italy. More than 5,000 farms were flooded in the Emilia-Romagna region alone, and the region’s fruit production accounts for 1/3 of Italy’s national output.
  The Italian Agricultural Association said milk production fell by 10% in summer due to heat stress in cows, forcing farmers to use fans and sprinkler systems to cool their cows, further increasing their water and energy use. the cost of.
  In addition, hot and dry weather will lead to a 60% reduction in grain production in Italy, Spain and Portugal compared to last year, and 2023 may also be the worst year for the European Union’s grain harvest in the past 15 years.
  The extreme high temperature has directly led to a surge in demand for electricity, and many countries around the world have begun to limit electricity.
  Since the beginning of summer, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, Thailand and other South Asian and Southeast Asian countries have taken measures such as rolling blackouts and power rationing due to heat waves and insufficient power supply. On July 19, Egypt, where the highest temperature in many places exceeded 40°C, also began to implement power reduction measures, and plans to start the “regular power outage” mode.
How China Responds

  Tao Xidong, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that it is one of the important issues facing China’s large and medium-sized cities, especially coastal megacities, to plan ahead and prepare for extreme heat. It is necessary to start from the weakest point and deal with the severe challenge of extreme high temperature with strong resilience.
  For example, it is necessary to focus on ensuring the supply of electricity, formulate an energy action plan to deal with extreme high temperature disasters, and ensure the normal use of electricity for industrial and commercial economic activities and residents’ daily life. This is the primary measure and core task to effectively deal with the risk of extreme high temperature.
  At the same time, improve and improve the timely and efficient extreme high temperature warning system, and build and operate a diversified urban heatstroke prevention and cooling landscape facility system.
  Zhu Dingzhen, former chief expert of meteorological services at the Public Meteorological Service Center of the China Meteorological Administration, suggested that under the background of normalization of extreme weather, it is necessary to further improve the ability of disastrous weather monitoring, forecasting and early warning: “Forecasting and early warning should be more advanced and more accurate. To do better, the release of forecast and early warning information should be faster, more accurate, and more considerate.”
  At the same time, it is necessary to further improve the “government-led, departmental linkage, and social participation” emergency mechanism for meteorological disaster prevention and mitigation. .
  In June 2022, 17 departments including the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Science and Technology jointly issued the “National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2035”, emphasizing the importance of climate risk assessment, monitoring and early warning. According to this strategy, by 2035, China will establish a seamless and full-coverage digital platform for climate risk management, using smart and digital technologies to assess specific risks and conduct weather and climate forecasts.

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