According to data from the Copernicus: European State of the Climate 2022 report, last summer’s season was the fifth or sixth warmest ever measured worldwide. One of the regions hardest hit by a warming climate is Europe: the report describes 2022 as a time of “extreme heat and widespread drought.”

Climate change is responsible for the record heat that hit the Iberian Peninsula in late April, as well as the worst-ever drought in the Horn of Africa. Effects that we are beginning to feel more and more strongly. The record-hot summer of 2003, often mentioned in scientific and popular science publications, when some 50,000 people in European countries died from the heat, was “only” 3.6°C warmer than average. And all indications are that we need to start getting used to it, because what is still an anomaly will become an everyday occurrence in the future.

Drought is no longer a threat – it’s a real problem

Temperatures that are high for this time of year (in late April, temperatures in southern Spain were 7 to as much as 10°C higher than average) have exacerbated the months-long drought facing residents of southwestern Europe. The situation in Spain has been and continues to be so serious that Agriculture Minister Luis Planas has appealed to European Union authorities to allocate emergency funds to help farmers and cover at least some of the drought-related losses. And summer is just beginning. There is no doubt that climate change and related global warming are “responsible” for this state of affairs.

Climate change to blame

Drought is nothing more than the phenomenon of a long-term deficit of surface and groundwater in an area. And this is not a temporary phenomenon – it can last for months or even years. This is due to precipitation that is less than that characteristic and average for the area. As global temperatures rise, the frequency of heat waves increases. At the same time, as a consequence of precipitation, which takes the form of sudden downpours, the phenomenon of drought is intensifying. Whether we are talking about a heat wave and a drought depends on the area.

He took up the effects of a warming climate very extensively 5. IPCC report. As the greenhouse effect intensifies, we will record higher temperatures, and the typical locations and periods of precipitation will also shift. In summary, climate change is becoming more visible and noticeable, and may take an even more radical form in the future.

Forecasts for Poland

Our country’s climate will change in the coming decades towards a division into two seasons – a cool rainy season and a hot dry season. This is a phenomenon that is not only climatically unfavorable, but also economically – our country, which is largely agricultural, will face weather extremes: on the one hand, an increase in the frequency of droughts and the threat of fires, on the other – long periods without rain punctuated by violent and torrential rains mean the risk of floods, flooding or landslides. All of this is a real threat to crops and harvests, and thus to food prices.

Analyzing the subsequent effects of climate change, a shortening of the snow cover period and a decrease in its thickness, combined with strong evaporation, will result in a decrease in soil moisture, lower groundwater levels and, consequently, a significant shrinkage of Poland’s water resources.

Although our country is not the most vulnerable to climate change, it is already clear that we are bearing a large cost of current events. According to the government’s 2013 Climate Change Adaptation Plan, which was developed at the Ministry of the Environment, we lost 54 billion zlotys as a country in the first decade of the 21st century alone due to global warming, and by the third decade, with no adaptation measures, the costs could rise to as much as 120 billion zlotys.

Record already broken

By July 2, the highest average temperature for the entire Earth was 16.9°C. However, the record was broken the very next day, with an average temperature of 17.01 degrees Celsius recorded on July 3 and 17.18 degrees Celsius a day later, scientists from the US agency National Centers for Environmental Prediction reported. The highest ever measured temperatures are accompanied by serious consequences. These are primarily the still ongoing record wildfires in Canada, the massive heat in the southern United States, the near 50°C in northern Africa, the longest period of hot weather in China and record July temperatures at stations in Antarctica.

People around the world are already feeling the effects of climate change, from heat waves, fires and air pollution to floods and extreme storms. Global warming is also exacerbating crop losses and the spread of infectious diseases, as well as the migration of – said Dr. Jeni Miller, executive director at the Global Climate and Health Alliance.

There is no doubt that this is the result of climate change, for which rising greenhouse gas emissions are largely responsible. Their sources are primarily the burning of coal, oil and gas, as well as industrialized agriculture and deforestation.

Scientists stress that global temperatures could be even higher next year. All because of the arrival of El Niño, the first of this magnitude in 7 years. It is a weather and ocean phenomenon that involves the persistence of above-average temperatures at the surface of the Pacific Ocean, which has colossal implications for average temperatures on land. The years in which we measured El Niño were on average 0.5°C warmer than the others. Climate change affects its intensity.

Changes are needed – immediately!

Governments around the world are trying to bring about change and influence business for the sake of the planet’s future. However, it is already apparent that they are too small and too slow. The last eight years have seen a huge increase in global warming. Scientists make it clear that achieving the provisions from the Paris Agreement is increasingly unrealistic.

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