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Weather troubles: A shocking review of 2023!

Weather-troubles-A-shocking-review-of-2023

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2023 is now behind us however it leaves with us a bitter taste as we recall some of the extreme weather phenomena that have shaken the planet. Phenomena such as wildfires, hurricanes, and floods are more common and had been a common event in the past year. Could these extreme weather events be another indication that we are officially living with and having to manage climate change?

 

In the previous year we have seen the Amazon rainforest being threatened with some of the worst wildfires in history. These types of fires in the most fertile and rich area of the planet can threaten rare species and the biodiversity of the planet as well as local indigenous populations. One of the reasons put forward for these wildfires was the rise in temperatures and the resulting dryness in the forest! In fact, Amazonian wildfires were associated with the rising temperatures connected to the phenomenon of climate change (NASA Earth Observatory, 2023).

 

Flooding can also be an unexpected yet damaging consequence as the result of increased and extreme rainfall. The melting of glaciers has been associated with a rise in sea levels and the corrosion of coastal regions (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2022). A shocking example was a devastating loss of human life in Libya because of floods from Storm Daniel in September which resulted in a 340% increase in loss of life from storms in 2023 compared to 2022 (Save the Children, 2023).

 

Similarly, coastal regions saw an increase in hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons in this past year. These phenomena have been associated to a rise in the ocean temperature and have been observed across the globe from the Gulf of Mexico to Southeast Asia (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2019). For example, cyclone Freddy was destructive for Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique in February-March 2023. This was characterised as one of the longest tropical cyclones ever recorded and it displaced thousands of people, in addition to more than 1000 people losing their lives (Relief Web, 2023).

 

Shockingly, in 2023 according to Save the Children (International Disasters Database, 2023) at least 12 000 people around the world have lost their lives in climate related disasters this past year. Connecting the dots between these events and climate change involves understanding the bigger picture. Scientific fora and scientists focusing on climate science and consider the constellation of these weather phenomena confirm a link and confirm that human activities are accelerating the planet’s climatic changes.

 

During these challenges, the importance of education and research shines through. BtheChange Erasmus+ project continues to research and work towards identifying the most effective ways of educating ourselves on the topic using video learning. Education is an important step towards identifying needed steps and changing our behaviour to support efforts in managing climate change.

 

As we step into a new year, let’s learn from and contemplate on the climatic evidence of 2023. Learning about these phenomena is not about elicit fear but rather triggering critical thinking and questions around the climate change problem. This could inspire new research and ideas on better managing the issue. Although the problem is significant, by becoming more aware we can support research on the topic of climate change so that we can hope for a more sustainable future.  

 

References

NASA Earth Observatory. (2023). Amazon Fires, 2023. [Link to the relevant page]
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/natural-hazards/wildfires-in-the-amazon

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2019). Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. [Link to the relevant page]
https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2022). Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States. [Link to the relevant page]
https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/publications/techrpt83_Global_and_Regional_SLR_Scenarios_for_the_US_final.pdf

Relief Web. (2023). Tropical Cyclone Freddy – Feb 2023. [Link to the relevant page]
https://reliefweb.int/disaster/tc-2023-000023-mdg

 

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