Expect More Crazy Weather, Says UN Climate Change Panel

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/reneeanddolan/3896757424/sizes/l/in/photostream/">dolanh</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Wondering whether the heat wave that’s been shattering temperature records across the Midwest has anything to do with climate change? A report on extreme weather events released today by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) offers strong evidence that global warming makes heat waves and record highs more likely. While there have been many studies on the link between climate and extreme weather, and plenty of speculation, this report, which synthesizes over a thousand studies on climate, weather, and disasters, offers an “unprecedented level of detail” on observed and expected changes in weather and climate extremes, says the IPCC. This is the first time the panel has taken a comprehensive look specifically at extreme weather, as well as the first IPCC report to consult social scientists in seeking to understand how communities are affected by climate change.

The IPCC warns that extreme temperatures and heavy precipitation have been on the rise since 1950, and that those trends are likely to continue throughout the 21st century. The heat impacts are particularly worrisome: The report says it’s “virtually certain” that we’ll see more daily temperature extremes at the high end of the scale going forward, and “very likely”—scientific lingo for 90-100 percent certain—that heat waves will increase in length, frequency, and intensity. Droughts are also likely to intensify in many areas, including central North America, central and southern Europe, and northeast Brazil. So while we’ll probably never know whether this particular heat wave can be chalked up to climate change, we can be pretty sure that we’ll be seeing more like it in the future. And there’s a lot more to worry about (and some suggestions for how we can cope, like improving land-use planning and enforcing building codes) in the full 592 pages of the report, which you can read here

 

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate