Climatic risks, extreme events and irreversible consequences

  • Deutsche-welle

"A very active hurricane season in the North Atlantic, large floods caused by monsoons in the Indian subcontinent and continuing severe droughts in parts of East Africa led 2017 to become the year with the greatest number of economic losses caused by extreme weather and climate phenomena", according to the 25th declaration of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The consequences are extreme and affect not only nature. On the world economic field, food, health and migration were also affected.

2017 was one of the "three warmest years of data and the warmest without being hit by the El Niño phenomenon" and in the same periods "average global temperatures of around 1.1 ° C were recorded above pre-industrial levels "according to WMO.

Worldwide, many disasters were caused by weather phenomena. The United States lost more than 300 billion dollars, the North Atlantic hurricane season left destruction and desolation in the Caribbean islands, especially in Dominica and Puerto Rico. According to World Bank, "it is estimated that the total damages and losses caused by the hurricane that hit Dominica reached $ 1.3 billion or 224% of its gross domestic product."

The Zika virus epidemic is one of the most palpable effects when the consequences of climate change in health are reviewed. When referring to migration, statistics are also alarming.

Only in 2016 the attacks of nature "forced 23.5 million people to move. As in previous years, most of these internal displacements were associated with floods or storms and occurred in the Asia-Pacific region." Displacement occurred in turn in Somalia, a country that according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) registered 892 thousand displacements due to lack of water, soil deterioration and death of animals.

In Sri Lanka, floods and landslides affected the agricultural sector which resulted in adverse effects on crop production according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Program (PMA).

The statement of the World Meteorological Organization concluded concerning the oceans "that the magnitude of sea level has increased in recent years, especially, the melting of the polar ice sheet, mainly in Greenland and, to a lesser extent, in Antarctica." It also noted that "the temperature on the surface of the sea on a world scale in 2017 was slightly below the levels of 2015 and 2016, but it was the third warmest ever recorded".

Regarding short, medium and long term projections, WMO said that "at the beginning of 2018 the 2017 trend continues: extreme weather conditions continue to claim lives and destroy livelihoods. In the Arctic, exceptionally there were high temperatures, while the densely populated areas of the northern hemisphere were affected by particularly severe cold and devastating winter storms. Australia and Argentina suffered extreme heat waves, drought continued to hit Kenya and Somalia, and Cape Town (South Africa) faced a severe water shortage. " 


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