World Meteorological Day:
- World Meteorological Day is celebrated every year on March 23, and with climate change continuing to spread chaos around the world, this day which showcases the work of meteorological and hydrological services gets special significance.
- This day is celebrated every year to remember the day the World Meteorological Organisation came into existence on March 23, 1950.
- This year, the day is focusing on the role of the Sun on the Earth and the changing pattern of our climate and weather.
- This year’s theme also sits in perfectly with the next cycle of the Sun’s activity starting in 2020, also known as the Solar Cycle 25.
- A research paper published by Indian scientists in the journal Nature Communications on December 6, 2018, finds that the next solar cycle will be either slightly stronger or similar to the previous cycle (Solar Cycle 24).
Some Facts about Sun cycle:
- The Sun’s activity, influenced by its magnetic nature, fluctuates in 11-year cycles and affects the atmospheric conditions on Earth through changes in the Sun’s radiation and sudden bursts of solar energy known as “solar flares”.
- The last few cycles of the Sun have shown a weakening trend and some scientists had even proposed that this would touch a record minimum known as a “Maunder minimum”, the likes of which were last seen between 1645 and 1715.
- During this period, astronomers had observed no sun spots. The current weakening of the Sun’s activity led to speculation that a “mini Ice Age” is close by and that devastating effects of human-induced global warming could be partially offset by global cooling. The occurrence of such a minimum over decades would have led to a much cooler global climate.
- The current prediction reverses this trend and debunks the theory of a global cooling phase compensating global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions, which have reached a record high.
- This World Meteorological Day, scientists and people should also recognise the increasing unpredictability of our climate and weather.
- This is when deadly weather-related disasters are becoming far too common all around the world.
- The recent Cyclone Idai, which brought death and destruction to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi and affected more than 2 million people, is just one such example. The total impact of the deadly storm has still not been accounted for, but it has been touted as one of the worst weather-related disasters in the Southern Hemisphere.
Top worrying trends about the climate:
- 2017 was one of the three warmest years on record with global mean temperatures about 1.1°C above pre-industrial temperatures.
- A 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global warming can have a far-reaching impact. With just 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature, the last decade saw record-breaking droughts, storms, forest fires, coral bleaching, floods and heat waves around the world. The top challenge we face now is stabilising temperature rise.
- The end of 2018 saw astonishing extreme temperatures with California frozen at minus 40 degrees Celsius while Australia burned in the heat of 40 degree Celsius around the same time. As global warming worsens, climate chaos will also steadily get worse with rising seas and dangerous heat waves.
- The impact of the world heating up because of climate change will be felt across all human communities, ecosystems and economies.
- Unusually high Arctic temperatures, bitter cold and storms in populated northern hemisphere areas, extreme heatwaves in Australia and Argentina and drought in parts of Africa continued in 2018 like in 2017.
- Global sea surface temperatures were the third warmest on record in 2017, with sea ice extent well below average in both the Arctic and Antarctic, higher sea levels and bleaching of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef.
- A very active North Atlantic hurricane season, major monsoon floods in the Indian subcontinent, and continuing severe drought east Africa made 2017 the most expensive year ever for severe weather and climate events, with total losses reaching USD 320 billion.
- WMO launched an initiative last year to establish a global and standardized multi-hazard alert system in collaboration with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services worldwide.
- Unprecedented efforts must continue to cut down the use of fossil fuels by half in 15 years and totally phase out their use in 30 years. This requires a massive change in how vehicles and cities are powered and how we produce energy for human consumption.
- A major way to reduce our carbon footprint is to shift to a diet with less meat consumption and an effort towards a less materialistic lifestyle where human consumption itself goes down.
- Since the carbon content in the atmosphere will keep on rising, we will need a way to capture atmosphere carbon. Forests currently remove about 25 percent of our carbon dioxide emissions. Reforestation and good forest management can help control global warming. Protecting forests and increasing forest cover is now an important key to controlling temperature rise and rainfall.
- Another way carbon secretion into the atmosphere can be controlled is by turning wood into furniture or buildings because forests contain more carbon than gas, oil or coal deposits. A 12-storey wood building will be completed in Portland this year while Vienna, Austria is getting a 24-storey wood building.
Source: Downtoearth, IT