If like most of us you have had enough of the weather, then it might make you a little uncomfortable to know that much worse is to come. Not only is climate change threatening long term changes to the planet, according to latest research it is also the cause of many of the freak weather patterns that are being experienced worldwide.
There are many things that we as individuals can do to stop this getting worse: simple measures such as switching to electric cars or hybrid cars, installing solar panels, improving the insulation of our homes, and turning down the central heating may in themselves make just a small contribution, but taken together the effect is significant. We also should insist that the government introduces greener measures quickly even if they are unpopular; for instance building far more nuclear power stations is much more efficient than building wind farms which do little to reduce the carbon footprint.
Let’s look at some of the freak weather that is happening around the world: in 2000 in the UK there was more rain between September and November than in any previous three month period since 1727 when records began; in 2003 Europe endured a heat wave that killed 70,000 people, it was the hottest summer for five hundred years; even higher temperatures were experience in Russia in 2010 when temperature hit 44 °C killing 50,000 people; Pakistan was devastated by floods in 2010 and 2011; in 2007 the Arabian Sea cyclone Gonu was the strongest ever recorded in the region; and in March 2012 a heat wave in the US was responsible for some of the worst wild fires ever experienced. It is not only severe heat; we are also seeing extreme cold, for instance a big freeze in November 2012 has caused many ancient monuments to crumble in Rome.
Global warming models are unable to predict this strange weather, though it seems that as the planet warms up the weather patterns just get wilder and more freakish. Of course there are always changing weather patterns, and typically they can be mapped through a normal (bell shaped) statistical distribution, but over the last 100 years the surface temperature of the planet has risen by around 0.8 °C
Some of the reasons for the weather patterns can be explained by the fact that warmer air holds more moisture, so normal rain can become a deluge creating severe floods. More latent heat is produced when the water vapour forms clouds and this leads to far more severe thunderstorms and hurricanes. However, even allowing for this, the weather patterns are becoming even wilder than expected. Some scientists suspect that one reason for this may be because the jet streams are slowing down, taking up different positions, and amplifying the weather patterns to create more extreme temperatures.
Scientists are in agreement about one thing, and that is that worse is yet to come. The events we are seeing today were predicted to occur only in a 100 or so years time should global warming continue unabated. Just imagine the weather we will get should the planet warm up another 5 or so degrees, which will happen if nothing is done about it. Find your green car and join the electric generation