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766. Global Climate in 2022

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766. Global Climate in 2022

Last week, some cities in Japan recorded summer days of nearly 30°C, while Asia was hit by extreme heat waves across the region, with Myanmar reaching 45°C, India 44.5°C, and Bangladesh and Thailand 42.8°C.

On April 21, the World Meteorological Organization released its annual report State of the Global Climate 2022, noting that climate change is progressing, with societies on all continents being hit hard by extreme weather events, Antarctic sea ice is at an all-time low, and the melting of European glaciers is accelerating.

The report shows that atmospheric greenhouse gases are reaching record levels, leading to global changes on land, in the oceans, and in the atmosphere. Despite the La Niña events of the past three years, the global average temperature in 2022 will be 1.15°C [1.02 to 1.28] above the 1850-1900 average, the fifth or sixth hottest on record, and 2015-2022 was the hottest eight consecutive years on record. Glacier thickness, a long-term observation, changed by -1.3 m between October 2021 and October 2022, representing a loss of nearly 30 m of glacier thickness since 1970. Glaciers in the European Alps also experienced record melting due to low winter snowfall, the arrival of sand clouds from the Sahara in March, and heat waves from May to early September. Switzerland lost 6% of its glaciers between 2021 and 2022, and for the first time in its history, the remaining summer snow disappeared, making it impossible for new ice to accumulate. For the first time in 69 years, zero temperatures were recorded at altitudes above 5,000 meters. The highest temperature ever recorded was also recorded at the summit of Mont Blanc.

Other events in 2022 include a major drought in East Africa, flooding in Pakistan, and record-breaking heat waves in China and Europe, affecting 10 million people, raising food security concerns, causing unintended migration, and costing billions of dollars in losses and damages.

Climate change is also affecting natural rhythms, such as the timing of tree blossoms and bird migrations. The report notes that the bloom of Japan's cherry trees, which has been recorded for 801 years, has accelerated in recent years due to climate change and urbanization. In particular, the full bloom date in 2021 was March 26, the earliest in the country's more than 1,200-year history. (Incidentally, this year, 2023, saw bloom on March 14 and full bloom on March 22, 9 to 10 days earlier than normal for both bloom and full bloom).

On the other hand, the report points out that technological advances have lowered the cost of renewable energy and other energy sources, and calls for accelerating the pace of action to limit warming to 1.5°C as tools, knowledge, and solutions become available, while also calling for adaptation and strengthening resilience, targeting vulnerable countries and social groups that have not contributed the most to the climate crisis. At the same time, it calls for large-scale investment in adaptation and resilience-building, targeting vulnerable countries and social groups that have not contributed most to the climate crisis.


Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)


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