Facts About World

From heat waves and wildfires to downpours and flooding, 2023 has given us a taste of the impacts we can expect over the coming decades and centuries. In short, it’s not good news. Without very significant reductions in greenhouse gases—beginning immediately—it is very likely that global surface temperatures will exceed the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

CO2 concentrations fluctuate with the seasons, while the speed at which they increase yearly is affected by human behavior. For example, the rising slot bet 100 concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere slowed during the early stages of the pandemic when emissions fell, but then rose steeply in 2021 as the world reopened. The annual rise in emissions and atmospheric concentration of CO2 has since slowed down again.

At its core, climate change is really simple to grasp. The more carbon dioxide—and other warming gases—that we put into the atmosphere, the higher global temperatures will rise. Between 1850 and 2021, humans released around 2,500 gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere (1 gigatonne equals 1 billion metric tons). So far, these emissions have led to 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming when compared to preindustrial levels.

The kind of extreme heat event that had a likelihood of happening once every 10 years between 1850 and 1900 is now likely to occur 2.8 times every 10 years. In a world that hits 1.5 degrees of warming, such events are likely to occur 4.1 times every 10 years. The same is true of once-in-every-50-years events. They’re now likely to occur 4.8 times in 50 years, and in a world that exceeds 1.5 degrees of warming, 8.6 times every 50 years.

Heavy rain is also more common because of climate change. The kind of heavy one-day rain that 150 years ago would have only happened once every 10 years is now happening 1.3 times every 10 years. In a world warmed by 1.5 degrees Celsius, that will go up to 1.5 times. And as frequency increases, so does severity—we can expect these extreme weather events to be hotter and wetter than those that went before them.

The number of floods and instances of heavy rain have quadrupled since 1980 and doubled since 2004. Extreme temperatures, droughts, and wildfires have also more than doubled in the past 40 years. While no extreme weather event ever comes down to a single cause, climate scientists are increasingly exploring the human fingerprints on floods, heat waves, droughts, and storms.

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than almost anywhere else on the planet. Between 2011 and 2020, annual Arctic sea ice reached its lowest level since at least 1850, and late summer Arctic sea ice was smaller than at any time in at least the past 1,000 years. As of 2022, Arctic sea ice cover is decreasing at a rate of 12.6 percent per decade, compared to its average extent during the period from 1981 to 2010.



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