A climate report released on Friday by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that climate change in the next few decades will lead to more extreme heat events, with “high confidence.”
“Heat waves will become more frequent, intense and longer-lasting. Heat islands will intensify urban heat,” the report says. Heat waves with extreme heat will also lead to shorter seasons. Heat waves with high wind speeds will be more likely.
This matters because cities globally are responsible for about a third of the planet’s carbon emissions, with people choosing to live in the areas around city centers that have cooler winters and warmer summers. Hotter temperatures, with more intense heat waves, would contribute to climate change by increasing the risk of many physical and economic problems.
Expect an increase in number of heat waves — extreme hot temperature exceeding 35° Celsius in July. Hot desert zones, heat-wave areas and coastal areas with climate impacts expected during the 21st century. #surge of extreme heat predicted in 21st century. @UNFCCC pic.twitter.com/9o6CEjha4G — UNFCCC (@UNFCCC) August 3, 2018
“Heat waves with a high frequency and heat islands will increase in the future as the climate warms,” the report says.
The IPCC is a science panel tasked with providing advice on global climate science. The report’s summary is generally regarded as the most detailed look at how global climate change is expected to affect the world. The longer the report is on the books, the more complete the sense of how climate change will play out across the planet.
Take a look at some of the other major highlights of the latest UN report:
More volcanic eruptions: There will be more volcanic eruptions around the world, with a high confidence for future increases in yearly average volcanic activity. “Although there is evidence that green house gases have a role in causing elevated levels of ground level ozone and other forms of human-made air pollution, several multi-hazard studies from hundreds of scientists in more than 50 countries show that air pollution concentrations from human activities may not exert a significant environmental impact on the future incidence of volcanic eruptions.”
Warmer oceans, more heatwaves: Heat waves in the oceans will increase in frequency. Coral bleaching in summer is expected to increase. Fewer cold sea days are expected as sea ice melt increases, “especially over the poles.” Waves will decrease in strength due to human-caused warming.
A bleached coral off the coast of Hawaii this year, for which human climate change is likely to play a role. (Wendy Sugimura/AP Photo)
More hurricanes and droughts: Changes in weather patterns are predicted to bring more storms and droughts to the U.S. and worldwide. These are mostly expected to increase in frequency. Increases in extreme weather could increase mortality among the poor, children and the elderly. People living near coastal areas are also projected to be at increased risk.
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