Climate Change

Global warming is universal, speedy and worldwide: Study

In contrast, other well-known cold and warm snaps of the past were more regional

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Thursday 25 July 2019

Global warming is universal, speedy and is happening at the same time worldwide, in sharp contrast to past events that were regional, a new study has stated.

Researchers led by Raphael Neukom, a climate scientist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, studied a huge database of temperature records of the past 2,000 years from around the world to come to this conclusion.

The past 2,000 years provide critical context for understanding the recent anthropogenic changing of the climate, as well as baseline information about Earth’s natural climate variability.

Ninety-eight per cent of the Earth’s surface experienced its hottest period of the past 2,000 years within living memory and the uniform heat spike "is unprecedented over the Common Era", the study published by Neukom and his team in Nature says.

Sample this: 13 years ago, the Stern Report had warned that global warming would affect everyone and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions would be the human-made reason behind this.

But the world breached safe atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels 33 years ago and according to the most recent estimates, the CO2 level is 412 ppm.

According to the International Energy Agency, global energy consumption increased by 2.3 per cent in 2018, leading to an increase of 1.7 per cent in CO2 emissions.

It is not surprising that June 2019 was the warmest June ever-recorded on the Earth and July 2019 is on track to become the hottest month in recorded history, warn the climate scientists.

This, they say, is an example of how fast and overarching this warming, caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, is.

The changes in climate in the past as compared to the one in the present. Photo: NatureSuch nearly universal warming, occurring in lockstep across the planet, is unique to this current era, scientists say. In contrast, other well-known cold and warm snaps of the past, such as the Little Ice Age or the Medieval Warm Period, were, in fact, regional rather than worldwide.

What makes those older eras different from modern warming is coherence. "That coherence cannot be explained by the natural variability of the climate system," Nathan Steiger, one of the study’s co-authors, said.

Take heed, Mr. Trump

The study needs to be noted by climate deniers who have repeatedly brought up the fluctuating nature of the climate in order to downplay current climate change.

In October 2012, current United States President Donald Trump had said climate change was a hoax and continued to stand by it. According to him, climate change was not human-induced. 

"I think something's happening. Something's changing and it'll change back again," Trump had said then. "I don't know that it's manmade. I will say this: I don't want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don't want to lose millions and millions of jobs."

But the increasing number of dangerously hot days per year will skyrocket this century if little or nothing is done about climate change, putting millions of Americans at risk, warned the Union of Concerned Scientists recently.

The world is projected to become warmer and there will be more and hotter heat waves warn experts. Heat waves are happening more frequently in large parts of Europe, Asia and Australia.

Europe has experienced its worst heat wave this year and climate change has made the deadly heat wave in Europe at least five times more likely, according to a recent analysis by European scientists.

This European analysis also says that human activities have made the planet warmer with a heat wave that is about 4°C hotter than it would otherwise have been.

A 2017 study from Australia too had confirmed that global warming and heat waves are the result of human-induced climate change.

Thus, climate change driven by worldwide emissions of greenhouse gas from human activity is making heat waves more common and devastating.

If greenhouse gas emissions remain high, the world will set new global temperature records and by 2100, every other year will be a record breaker.

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