While the new year wishes still remain crowded in our minds, with 2022 being considered as one of the most benevolent years, nothing similar can be acclaimed for this year so far.
It is a distraught beginning to the year, as nature has chosen to display its own level of anxiety amidst a lack of any or enough of it from humankind.
We could only rejoice over our achievements and agreements attained under the COP15 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), after the minute regards we held for a united world and its difficult (more than possible) fights against climate calamity waiting ahead.
Joshimath in Uttarakhand is crumbling under its own weight and many such cities are facing a crisis they made in sustaining a life that could alas, not be fulfilled without a planet’s perspective in mind.
The memories lay fresh in our minds from the Pakistan Floods last year.
Smaller countries like Tonga’s appeal to the world had fallen on deaf ears for long and one can now begin to feel and experience what they had been for years now.
A New to the List of Many:
Though it looked plain, it has been just recently ascertained that Scotland registered its hottest year on record in 2022, the average temperatures climbing an unconventional more than 10 degrees C.
This is 160 times more likely because of anthropogenic effects.
A Climate Researcher points out: “The record-breaking heat across Europe over the new year was made more likely to happen by human-caused climate change, just as climate change is now making every heatwave more likely and hotter”.
Ironically, January in the United Kingdom has become a bit soothing for many with the region experiencing one of its kind: a winter heat wave.
Many have termed it an “extreme event” with the temperatures going nearly 10-20 degrees C beyond normal.
How many countries have felt this graded warmth?
As reported, there have been at least seven such countries that have marked their ‘hottest January’ experienced ever. These countries are Poland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus.
While some of these countries reported their trees to have started flowering, others have issued warnings of a possible allergy to the affected public from early pollen spreading.
A frightening is underway: “It’s like nice weather for biking but we know it’s like the planet is burning. So, we’re enjoying it but at the same time we’re scared. What’s happening right now is exactly what climate scientists warned us about 10, 20 years ago.”
What are the unusual effects of these unusual weather occurrences?
Rhythmic and equally puzzling natural patterns are abundant on this planet that arise, sustain and are evolved in other forms based on numerous reasons, some known and unknown.
Scientists (paleontologists, in particular) have remained puzzled even with millions of years passed about the tricky animal migrations triggered because of a rather slow yet consistent process i.e., the continental drift.
One can imagine what may happen with these altered climate cycles!
Similarly, these inordinate temperature spikes can coax certain earthly plants to tweak their well-developed conventional growing mechanisms, maybe bloom earlier in the year or wake species out of their hibernation early.
Doesn’t it sound bad? This sudden change may expose them to become vulnerable by later colder turns.
What is the reason explained for this erratic behavior?
“We can regard this as the most extreme event in European history,” adds a meteorologist reading changes.
This has been due to the formation of something called the heat dome.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): “A heat dome occurs when the atmosphere traps hot ocean air like a lid or cap, resulting in dangerously increased temperatures”.
They usually linger over an area for a few days but they have known to extend up to many weeks sometimes, causing deadly heat sprays.
Heat dome is not a new phenomenon, researchers have known it for long now to find two reasons contributing in its formation:
Oceanic Temperature changes: It happens when there is a large gradient or difference in the surface water temperatures.
This happens through a process called convection where comparatively cooler air sinks and remain near the surface while warmer air rises up above
This warm air gets stuck and carried by the prevailing winds moving east, where at the right place jet streams capture them and bring towards the land where it generates heat waves.
Jet streams are the flowing rivers of the upper atmospheric tract.
Atmospheric Pressure changes: When high pressure air gathers in, it pushes warm air closer to the ground that gets joined by subsequent heat rising from the ocean, thus forming a heat dome.
This blanket-like guard amplifies other processes, reduces wind and cloud cover formation, constricting more warm air than ever.
Being completely unpredictable and weird as proven, climate change may be making these minor processes even more complex, intense and longer.
The jet streams of a warming world are bound to become more wavy and will have larger deviations, causing more frequent extreme heat catastrophe.
As per the researchers, a few other things have also contributed to the cause, for instance dry soil arising out of rising temperatures those have “potentially allowed the heat to become more extreme and hence amplifying the heat that was already at a high level”.
Previously, there had been instances of heat domes. One over western parts of Canada and the US developed in 2021, taking temperatures to over 46 degrees Celsius at places.
A 2022 research explained how this heat dome was further enlarged by climate change and as per statistics this can become a once-in-10-year event in scenarios of two degrees Celsius rise above pre-industrialisation levels.
Not to neglect a new-found fact that claims events like heat domes, create grave mental scars on people.
Can this disruptive event have a silver lining?
With the warming increasing superficially under a dome, the need for artificial heat to sustain in Europe has decreased significantly.
Additionally, energy production and processing has been delayed for a while accounting for their specific contributions. This is creating a vacancy that can be viably fulfilled.
Thus, European governments have shown a resolve to use this energy crisis well and accelerate the pace of energy transition from dark fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy.
This is ostensibly overwhelming, reality can however be different!