In the last 40 years we have surpassed all the limit levels for greenhouse gas emissions.
Warming during the summer months in Europe was much faster than the planet’s global average, as shown by a new study conducted by researchers at Stockholm University and published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres. Due to human emissions of greenhouse gases, the climate across the continent has become drier, especially in southern Europe, leading to worse heatwaves and an increased risk of wildfires.
According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the warming of land areas is much faster than that of the oceans, by 1.6 and 0.9 degrees respectively, on average. This means that the global level of greenhouse gas emissions that were supposed to stay below 1.5 degrees – on land – has been exceeded. The new study shows that even the level of emissions to avoid warming by 2 degrees more during the summer semester (April-September) has been exceeded in a large part of our continent, especially in the southernmost areas. Furthermore, the measurements reveal that warming during the summer months has already exceeded two degrees over the past four decades.
“Climate change is serious because it leads, among other things, to more frequent heat waves. These, in turn, increase the risk of wildfires , such as those devastating southern Europe in the summer of 2022,” says Paul Glantz, associate professor in Stockholm University’s Department of Environmental Sciences and lead author of the study.
In southern Europe, the so-called positive feedback from global warming is evident, ie warming is amplified due to drier soil and decreased evaporation due to drought. In addition, cloud cover has decreased over much of the continent, possibly due to the reduction of water vapor in the air.
“What we see in southern Europe is in line with the IPCC’s predictions that a greater human impact on the greenhouse effect would lead to dry areas of the Earth becoming even drier,” says Paul Glantz.
- Unmasking the Effects of Aerosols on Greenhouse Warming Over Europe. (agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com)