Changes in Extreme Weather Events
The world is experiencing extreme weather events like cyclones, hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, and floods, resulting in the loss of life and property. However, the intensity and frequency of these events has increased in the recent decades. The strength of these events is regulated by atmospheric parameters like changes in precipitation and temperatures.
- There has been an increase in the occurrences of warm nights along with a considerable decrease in the annual occurrence of cold nights and a significant increase in the occurrence of warm nights have been recorded over 74% of the land. This implies a decrease in the distribution of daily minimum temperature.
- Consequently, there has been an increase in the number of incidences of heat waves, along with the number of occurrences of warm nights, since 1950. As a result of the decrease in precipitation, the extent of regions affected by drought has increased, though warmer conditions are coupled with an increase in evaporation from oceans.
- The number of heavy daily precipitation events that lead to flooding has increased. Also, there has been a substantial increase in the intensity and duration of extreme events that have been recorded since 1970.
Intense heat waves engulfed many parts of Europe during the summer of 2003. These gave rise to record-breaking temperatures, particularly during June and August. Absolute maximum temperatures exceeded the previous highest temperature records, leading to the hottest summer since 1780. An exacerbating factor contributing to the temperature extremes was the lack of precipitation in many parts of western and Central Europe, which led to much reduced soil moisture, surface evaporation, and evapotranspiration.
With this we have covered the observed changes in earthâ€™s average temperature, hydrological cycle, cryosphere, ocean, sea level and extreme weather events.