Record heat 2021: climate change alarms scientists
The Mediterranean plagued by heat waves, western Europe overwhelmed by floods - 2021 had more extreme weather than ever. Science sounds the alarm. Is global warming the trigger and do we have to expect it regularly now?
The Copernicus annual report proves that it has never been so hot in Europe
The fact that global temperatures have been rising from year to year since the pre-industrial era has already been noticeable in recent years. The current climate data from theannual report of the EU climate change service Copernicus now show that last summer in Europe was the warmest since weather records began.
The Copernicus records go back to 1997. In addition, the climate change service uses records from ground stations, airplanes, balloons and satellites that even go back to 1950.
The previous year made it clear to us how devastating the consequences of these temperature extremes are...
Facts: Consequences of global warming and causes of catastrophes
In parts of the Baltic Sea, the annual sea surface temperature in 2021 was more than five degrees Celsius above average. A new European heat record was set in Sicily at 48.8 degrees .
The images of the forest fires and floods are probably still fresh in your mind. But how could this happen?
Parts of Italy, Greece and Turkey were already badly affected by the ongoing heat wave . The drought that prevailed at the same time did the rest and created the best conditions for the numerous devastating forest fires .
In July and August last year alone, around 800,000 hectares of land burned in the Mediterranean region. To give you a better idea: That corresponds to half the area of Schleswig-Holstein!
The flood disaster in which more than 180 people died in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia was also examined by scientists. They see possible reasons in the unusually high rainfall in the previous weeks. As a result, the ground was simply no longer receptive at the time of the heavy showers.
There were also abnormalities in some regions of Western Europe: the wind was weaker than it had been for at least forty years. Even if the wind strength fluctuates from time to time, last year's lull meant that wind farms were able to supply significantly less electricity than in previous years.
Even if such events cannot be clearly and solely attributed to climate change, catastrophes of this type will increase significantly in a warming world.
Acute climate crisis: the concentration of carbon dioxide is also increasing
The proportion of climate-damaging gases in the earth's atmosphere due to global warming increased again last year. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 2.3 ppm (parts per million air particles). Methane concentration increased by 16.5 ppb - a significantly larger increase than in previous years.
It worries us deeply that the rate at which atmospheric methane levels are increasing has almost doubled compared to pre-2020 levels
Experts suspect the reason for this to be chemical processes in the atmosphere, which result in slow methane degradation. On the other hand, they see higher emissions as a possible cause.
Methane is produced, for example, in agriculture, in landfills and in the oil and gas industry. Although it stays in the atmosphere for a shorter time, it is still more harmful than CO2.
Stopping Global Warming: Can We Stop Climate Change?
In view of the latest findings, it is hardly surprising that scientists are once again issuing a warning: The most catastrophic consequences of climate change can only be stopped if global warming is limited to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial period.
Unfortunately, the climate protection efforts of the states are far from sufficient ...
Causes and consequences of global warming
If you want to learn more about climate change, be sure to check out our article “Global warming: It's getting hot in here ” . Here we clarify the questions:
- What is global warming anyway?
- When did global warming begin?
- What can be done against global warming?
- Who is to blame for global warming?
- What are the causes and consequences of global warming?
Climate change - what can I do
The climate crisis is more relevant than ever. That's why we think it's important to share such reports. We want to shake people up, provide solutions, invite discussion and simply encourage people to finally change something. Because climate change affects us all.
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