DURBAN 2011: AFTER ANOTHER year of extreme weather events, including October's flooding in the Dublin area, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned global warming will cause even stronger storms, more heatwaves, droughts and wildfires unless steps are taken to curb the current trends.
Its latest report, Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters , released on November 18th, says scientists are “virtually certain” the world will have more extreme spells of heat, and fewer cold spells. Heatwaves could be as much as 5 degrees hotter by 2050 and even 9 degrees hotter by 2100.
If greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere continue rising inexorably, “it is likely that the frequency of hot days will increase by a factor of 10 in most regions of the world”, according to Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the IPCC working group. Likewise, heavy rainfall will occur more often, and tropical cyclones will become more intense.