As meteorologists predict another dangerously hot year ahead, more data is available on the planet’s temperature over the past 18 months, with particularly dire news coming from the Arctic and the Himalayas. .
Looking at its crystal ball for 2022, the UK’s Met Office predicts an average global temperature of around 1.09 Â° C above pre-industrial levels, reports Bloomberg Green. âWhile temperatures are expected to be slightly lower than in some years since 2015,â reaching 1.09 Â° C will make 2022 the eighth consecutive year in which global average temperatures have exceeded 1.0 Â° C of warming.
The Met Office adds that the average masks the reality that some parts of the planet are warming much faster than the rest of the world, with the Arctic now warming twice the global average.
The World Meteorological Organization illustrated the trend by confirming that the Siberian city of Verkhoyansk hit a record high of 38 Â° C on June 20, 2020, a temperature “more suitable for the Mediterranean than for the Arctic”. The United Nations agency still takes the time and scientific rigor it needs to verify readings of 54.4 Â° C posted in Death Valley in California in 2020 and 2021, and 48.8 Â° C in Sicily last August, Bloomberg said.
If the reading for Sicily holds, it will be the hottest on record in Europe.
“The WMO Archives of Extreme Weather and Climate Events have never had so many simultaneous investigations underway,” WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas said in a statement, and extreme warming has never is not limited to the north polar regions: “In 2020 there was also a new temperature record (18.3 Â° C) for the Antarctic continent.
Expanding on the importance of the extremely hot Siberian summer in 2020, which saw temperatures up to 10 Â° C above the norm most of the time, the WMO said the forest fires fueled by heat and massive loss of sea ice, while contributing significantly to 2020 being one of the three hottest years on record.
While scientists have confirmed record summer heat at both poles over the past two years, Alaskans endured “record heat” in December, the Washington Post reports, with temperatures reaching 45 Â° F / 25 Â° C. above average thanks to a “heat dome” parked off the Aleutians.
Also note: morning lows that are warmer than those we normally experience at the height of summer.
And because the air can hold about 4% more water for every degree it warms, the record high temperatures also meant record high precipitation, often in the form of rain. Fairbanks recorded its wettest December on record since 1929.
Rain falling on snow followed by overnight freezes wreaked havoc on Alaska’s roads, coating the pavement with ice having the consistency of cement. Ice build-up on power lines has also resulted in prolonged power outages throughout the Fairbanks area.
The Post says the winter rains in December came a month after a massive storm, producing one of the largest four-day precipitation totals on record in the state. It dumped nearly three feet of rain on the rapidly receding Portage Glacier, 80 kilometers southeast of Anchorage.
“Parts of Alaska have warmed by more than 2.5 Â° F since the 1970s, topping the rest of the bottom 48 by about two-thirds,” the report said. Warming along Alaska’s North Slope, in particular, is putting “entire ecosystems at risk amid abrupt biome and environmental changes.”
December also brought devastating news to the Himalayas, with research published in the journal Scientific Reports claiming that glaciers there “have shrunk 10 times faster” in the past 40 years than in the previous 700.
The new research has studied the integrity of some 15,000 ice caps in an area often referred to as the “third pole” because of the amount of ice it contains, writes CNBC. Himalayan glaciers “have lost about 40% of their area over the past few hundred years, or about 390 to 586 cubic kilometers of ice, enough to raise global sea level from 0.92 to 1,” 38 millimeter â. The report’s authors warned that accelerating ice melt threatens water supplies and food security for millions of people in South Asia.
This story was published with permission from The Energy Mix.
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