One third of Pakistan is under water. Climate scientists are not surprised by this summer’s extreme weather.

One third of Pakistan is under water.  Climate scientists are not surprised by this summer's extreme weather.

According to climatologists, the extreme weather that has characterized large parts of the world this summer is only a harbinger of what we can expect in the future.

A third of Pakistan is under water as a result of the floods and millions of people have been affected. Nearly half a million people have taken shelter in overcrowded camps as their homes have been submerged. This image shows how Sohbat Pur in the south-west of the country was submerged.

This year’s summer brought gloomy and dramatic weather reports from around the world: heatwaves. Severe drought. A huge forest fire. driving rain flood

The drought in Europe will be the worst in 500 years. Many of Europe’s biggest and most important students are drying up. According to experts, the situation is getting worse.

A forest fire is burning. Last week, Brazil experienced its worst wildfire day in 15 years. Europe, USA and Asia have also been affected by high temperatures. According to environmental group Greenpeace, China is experiencing the worst heat wave ever recorded in the country.

At the same time, one-third of Pakistan is under water. With 235 million inhabitants, the country is the fifth largest country in the world in terms of population.

The biggest flood in ten years. At least 1,000 people lost their lives.

Many scientists point to climate change as the cause of extreme weather.

Authorities in Pakistan have confirmed 1,136 deaths related to the violent floods that have characterized the country throughout the summer. People are fleeing from the floods in Jaffarabad.

The new normal?

– This is an unusual situation. There is no doubt about it, says Helge Drange. is a climate researcher and professor at the University of Bergen.

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The latest report from the UN Climate Panel, released in August last year, established in black and white: there is a statistical link between climate change and extreme weather. This trend was much stronger than in the previous report.

Heat waves intensify. The rain is getting stronger. The storm is gathering strength. There is no longer any doubt that we humans are the cause of climate change.

– What we are seeing around the world right now is very sad, but unfortunately not unexpected. We are going to have a very different climate from what we know. It can no longer surprise us, says Drange.

This does not mean that the summer of 2023 will be the same this year. But according to Drange, extreme weather will become more frequent.

A man walks along a dried-up riverbed in Cologne on August 15.

– Summer weather is an alarm bell

Bjørn Samset, senior researcher at Cicero – Center for Climate Research, agrees.

– We’ve never seen a summer like this. But every year we break new records. It’s already normal, but no less dramatic, he says, continuing:

– It’s getting hot. Where it gets drier, it gets drier. “Where we’re wet, we’re getting wetter,” says Samsett.

Drange and Samset believe this summer’s extreme weather should be taken as a clear sign:

– This summer’s extreme weather is a warning, an alarm bell, that we must make sure that climate change does not get completely out of control, Dranch says.

– The weather is clear. “Maybe this will help start the climate adaptations we need to make,” says Samsett.

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So far this year, 391 forest and brush fires have been reported in Spain. They become more frequent and intense due to strong heat.

Weather targets are difficult to reach

Like many other Norwegian researchers, he believes that meeting the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2050 will be difficult. This was revealed in a survey. NRK has been completed.

In 2015 in Paris, this goal was called the Paris Agreement.

– 2050 is only 30 years away. Physically it’s possible, but actually managing it is difficult, Samset says.

– How concerned are you in light of what we’ve seen of extreme weather this summer?

– I have been worried for a long time. Most climate scientists and I have been closely monitoring extreme weather for years. This year’s summer joins a trend of increasingly extreme weather, he says.

This year’s summer was perhaps an ominous harbinger of more extreme weather events in many places at the same time.

A four degree rise would have been warned earlier

Dystopian fates notwithstanding: climate scientists believe there is still hope.

– A few years ago I would have warned about a four degree rise by the end of this century. I won’t do that anymore. “It’s going in the right direction, but it’s going very slowly,” says Samset.

Drange believes we are at a turning point.

– I feel a general willingness and acceptance to do something.

But: Europe’s energy crisis is sticking in the wheels, Drange believes.

Many countries now use coal and other forms of energy to compensate for the lack of energy from other sources. Hit last week Norwegian Petroleum Directorate The need to increase the export capacity of gas from the Barents Sea has been confirmed.

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– You can understand it in the present tense. But this cannot continue for long, he said.

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