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Europe’s record summer ‘impossible’ without global heating

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Europe’s record summer ‘impossible’ without global heating

The heatwaves and wildfires that caused devastation in Europe this summer would not have happened without global heating, new analysis shows.

The summer of 2021 was the hottest on record in the continent, with average temperatures about 1C above normal. The elevated heat caused wildfires and premature deaths.

Researchers have calculated how much more likely the climate crisis made the high temperatures. For almost all of the past 150 years, the expected frequency of a European summer as hot as 2021 was no higher than once every 10,000 years.

But since the 1990s, as carbon emissions continued to soar, the expected frequency has rocketed to reach once every three years.

The analysis is a stark reminder to the leaders meeting at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow that global heating is causing terrible damage to lives and livelihoods. If countries do not achieve drastic reductions in carbon emissions by 2030 and hit net zero by 2050, the record heat of 2021 will strike every year by the end of the century, the scientists say.

Despite the extraordinary increase in likelihood of record heat in recent years, Nikos Christidis at the Met Office, who led the analysis, said: “These kinds of results are no longer surprising. Climate change is already making our weather extremes more severe.”

“Extreme events are the new norm,” said Prof Petteri Taalas, the head of the UN World Meteorological Organization. A European temperature record of 48.8C was set in Sicily in August. “Cop26 is a make-or-break opportunity to put us back on track,” Taalas said.

The analysis used 14 climate models and scores of model runs to calculate how frequently the record summer of 2021 is expected to occur in today’s human-influenced climate, compared with a climate with no human influence.

The research analysed the period from June to August and covered all of Europe, as far east as Yekaterinburg in Russia.

For large stretches of the 20th century, the estimated frequency of such a hot summer in a world without climate change was more than one in 10,000 years. “This event was so rare, it was nearly impossible to calculate a probability,” Christidis said.

The same scientific approach has shown clear links between global heating and other severe weather. The record-breaking heatwave in the Siberian Arctic in January and February 2020 was made at least 600 times more likely, while the terrible floods in Germany and Belgium in July were made up to nine times more likely.

Prof Peter Stott, also at the Met Office, said: “We can be more confident than we have ever been about linking extreme weather events to climate change. The science is clear that the faster we reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, the more we can avoid the most severe impacts.”

“The new study is another stark reminder of just what 1.2C [of global heating to date] means,” said Friederike Otto, at Imperial College London, who conducted the Siberian study. “I really do not want to imagine the summers we’d have at 2.7C.” She said looking at large regions gives a stronger climate change signal than smaller areas.

Bob Ward, a policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: “The study shows clearly that the severe intensity of this summer’s heatwave was due to man-made climate change resulting from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.

“The cost to humans and wildlife was substantial, with heatwave conditions killing people across the continent, and the enhanced evaporation of higher temperatures turning forests into fuel for devastating wildfires.

“These extreme temperature events in Europe will continue to increase in severity and frequency for at least the next 30 years, until the world reaches net zero emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Other previous studies have shown an extreme heatwave in 2017 that saw deadly forest fires blazing in Portugal and Spain was made 10 times more likely by global warming. In Portugal, 64 people died. Previous work has also demonstrated floods in England and France – as far back as 2000 – were made significantly more likely by global heating.

Environment

NiMet forecasts 3-day haziness, cloudiness nationwide from today

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted haziness and cloudiness across the country from Monday to Wednesday.

NiMet’s weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja forecast moderate dust haze with horizontal visibility range of 2km to 5km over the northern and North Central states.

“Except Benue, Kogi and Kwara where patches of cloud in a hazy atmosphere is anticipated. Patches of clouds are expected over the Inland of the South throughout the forecast period.

“Patches of clouds are expected over the Coast in the morning with chances of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Edo, Ondo, Ogun, Lagos, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa states during the afternoon and evening hours,” it said.

According to NiMet, moderate dust haze with a horizontal visibility range of 2km to 5km is expected over the northern and North central region on Tuesday.

It said with the exception of Kwara, Benue and Kogi where patches of clouds in a hazy atmosphere were anticipated.

“Patches of clouds are expected in the morning over the Inland of the South and the Coast.

“Later in the day, isolated thunderstorms are expected over parts of Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Edo, Imo, Enugu, Lagos, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa states,” it said.

The agency envisaged a slight dust haze over the northern region on Wednesday.

It forecast patches of cloud in a hazy atmosphere over the North central region except over parts of Plateau, Kwara, Benue and Kogi states where isolated thunderstorms were expected later in the day.

NiMet envisaged patches of clouds over the inland of the South and the Coast in the morning with prospects of isolated thunderstorms.

“(This will be) over parts of Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Edo, Oyo, Ondo, Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Delta states later in the day.

The agency advised people with respiratory issues to wear face masks where possible.

“People with respiratory issues should be cautious of the present weather situations. Children and the elderly should wear warm clothing at night.

“Special attention should be paid to your skin, eyes and lips. Moisturise your skin and lips as much as possible.

It also advised Airline operators to obtain updated weather reports and forecast from NiMet for effective planning in their operations.

(NAN)

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Environment

Heatwave: Drink Plenty Water, Doctors Issue Safety Tips To Nigerians

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors has issued health safety guidelines for the heatwave currently being experienced in parts of the country.

The association made the advisory in a message posted via its X handle on Saturday.

The advisory, titled, ‘Stay safe in the heatwave,’ read, “As temperatures soar, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and take care of ourselves.”

The association warns “that the extreme temperatures could provoke ill health, endanger eutherian and may cause death. Staying safe in hot weather is essential for your well-being. Let us look out for each other and take the necessary precautions to stay healthy.”

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.

Wear loose, light-weight and light-coloured to help your body stay cool.

Seek shade: Limit your time outdoors during the hottest part of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you must be outside, seek shade whenever possible.

Take cool showers or baths as they can help lower your body temperature and provide relief from the heat.

Know the signs of heat-related illnesses: Be aware of symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeats and confusion. Seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency had said that the excessive heat being experienced in the country presently would remain for a while. NiMET disclosed this in its weather and climate update posted on its official X page on Wednesday. The agency, in the post, also outlined the weather implications and guided the public on how to manage the situation.

“Air Temperatures hit 41°C over the North and 39°C over the South with model projections indicating temperatures to remain high in the coming days,” NiMET said.

The agency listed the implications of the heat, noting, “This could also cause fainting; chickenpox disease, measles, heat rash, weakness of the body, slight fever, and dry lips; heat-related illnesses; respiratory issues; and increased vulnerability to chronic conditions.”

However, NiMET advised citizens to ensure adequate fluid intake. seek shade, use fans, and wear light, breathable clothing to reduce exposure to high temperatures, amongst others.

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Environment

NiMet predicts 3-day haze, thunderstorms from Thursday

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, says there will be haziness and thunderstorms across the country from Thursday to Saturday.

According to its weather outlook issued on Wednesday in Abuja, there would be moderate dust haze on Thursday with visibility of between 2km and 5km.

It envisaged localised visibility of less than 1km over the northern parts all through the projected three-day period.

The agency also said that there would be a slight dust haze over the North Central region with patches of cloud over parts of Kogi, Benue and Kwara.

It anticipated a cloudy atmosphere with spells of sunshine over inland states.

According to the agency, there could be isolated thunderstorms over parts of Ondo, Osun, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos and Ogun during the afternoon and evening hours.

On Friday, thick dust haze is anticipated over the northern parts,’’ NiMET added.

It advised the use of face masks where possible as there would be dust particles in the atmosphere.

“Airline operators are advised to get updated weather reports and forecasts from NiMet for effective planning of their operations,’’ it stressed

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