The world has witnessed catastrophic changes due to climate change over the years, and it seems that the worst is yet to come. Despite the efforts to constrain carbon emissions and limit global warming, the planet still saw record-breaking temperatures in April and May of 2023. Countries globally committed to the Paris Agreement in 2015, pledging to keep the global average temperatures from rising beyond 1.5C. However, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s May prediction, the earth has a 66% chance of crossing the 1.5C threshold for at least one whole year by 2027. The impact of climate change is becoming more evident, and this blog will delve deeper into this topic to explain what drives these extreme temperatures.
Global land temperatures have reached unprecedented levels, thanks to the rise in the emission of greenhouse gases, and it’s not limited to just a few countries. Combined with this, the ocean’s temperature has also been affected by warming intensified by events such as El Niño. For instance, the Southern Hemisphere saw high temperatures in Oman, the United Arab Emirates, western Australia, and parts of Africa and South America. NASA’s report states that 2023 witnessed the highest global surface temperature in the last eighteen years.
Besides, the warming was amplified by the El Niño – a weather phenomenon that occurs every four to seven years and leads to several climatic changes such as flooding, droughts, and severe tropical storms. The more prolonged the El Niño is, the greater the impact on global temperatures. In 2023, the El Niño event was one of the longest and strongest, contributing to record-breaking land and sea temperatures.
Another factor that played a part in elevating the temperature was the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which causes variations in temperatures between the western and eastern areas of the Indian Ocean. The IOD affected the Australasian region from late April to early May when the temperatures hit a record high of 2.6°C above the average temperature. The IOD’s impact isn’t typically as significant as the El Niño’s, but it served as another catalyst to the warming trend.
The rising temperatures have adversely affected both land and sea organisms, ecosystems, and the environment at large. On land, some species have had to migrate to cooler environments or move to higher altitudes to escape the heat. Also, forest fires and drought cause an imbalance in the ecosystem, which affects the distribution of plants and animals in the affected areas. Furthermore, the coral reefs in the ocean are severely damaged by the heat, leading to a decline in the ecosystem’s overall biodiversity.
Climate change is a global phenomenon that has progressively worsened in recent years. Governments, policymakers, and individuals all have a critical role to play in mitigating the effects of climate change. We should prioritize adopting eco-friendly practices and technology, seek alternative methods of transportation, reduce our dependence on plastic, and plant more trees. We can slow down the emissions of carbon and start the restoration process of our planet. Let’s all unite to save our planet from more extreme temperatures and the effects of climate change.