In a startling announcement, the World Meteorological Organization says the world's weather is going crazy. The WMO usually produces dry, detailed scientific reports, but this time it's sounded an alarm because of the record extremes in weather that have been occurring all over the world, from Switzerland's hottest June to a record number of tornadoes in the U.S. They say this is all due to climate change.
This warning is especially serious because the WMO is so conservative. Groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have been warning us about this for years, but government agencies felt they had an agenda that made their statements invalid.
Supercomputer models show that, as the atmosphere warms, the climate doesn't just get hotter?it becomes more unstable. In southern France, record temperatures were recorded in June. In Switzerland, it was the hottest June in at least 250 years. In the U.S., there were 562 May tornadoes, which caused 41 deaths, setting a record for tornadoes during a single month. The previous record was 399 in June 1992.
In India, this year's record heatwave killed 1,400. In Sri Lanka, heavy rainfall from a tropical cyclone caused flooding and landslides that killed 300 people. Last month was the hottest in England and Wales since 1976.
The WMO says, "New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years the number of such extremes have been increasing." And it could get even worse. According to the WMO, "Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme events might increase."
Is it our final hour yet? Martin Rees says it might be, if we don't shape up.
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