By Fotini Papadopoulou
Among all the troubles our planet has been facing lately, something has been added that has been known for several decades, but is now entering our daily lives in a dramatic way: climate change. “This year we had the coldest consecutive days for March in Cyprus. It is the first time that such low values of temperatures are recorded, and in fact for a long time, in the month of spring “, assures Mr. Filippos Tymbios, senior meteorological official, classifying this phenomenon in the consequent points of climate change, which are already obvious and in Cyprus. “Climate change is any systematic change in the long-term statistics of climate variables, such as temperature, rainfall, pressure or wind, that are maintained for decades or more, close to certain average values,” notes Tymbios.
Causes and human factor
As Mr. Tymbios points out, climate change is also due to “natural external coercions”, however, the main cause of its provocation is still the human factor. “Climate change can be due to natural external forces (changes in solar emissions or changes in the Earth's orbit, natural internal processes of the climate system, such as intense volcanic activity) or man-made. Since the 1800s, human activities have been a major driver of climate change, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. Combustion of fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases that, while permeable to sunlight, act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping heat emitted by the Earth and thus raising the temperature. “
Mr. Tymbios reports to “P” the damage caused to the climate by greenhouse gas emissions, ie carbon dioxide and methane: “These two gases come mainly from the use of gasoline for driving a car or coal for the heating of buildings. The generation of electricity from the combustion of hydrocarbons is another very important factor in the creation of greenhouse gases. Land and forest clearing can also release carbon dioxide. Landfills are an important source of methane emissions. In general, the main factors of anthropogenic intervention in greenhouse gas emissions concern energy, industry, transport, agriculture and livestock industry and land use “.
Cyprus and the Mediterranean in climate change
“The Mediterranean, and in particular Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, according to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change), is in a climate hot spot (the term is used for areas where the temperature will rise beyond of the world average and in the case of the Eastern Mediterranean this is estimated at 20%). In Cyprus and the wider neighboring region of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, with great certainty, the temperature will rise significantly, with greatly increased number of hot days (days with a temperature above 40), on tropical nights (the minimum daily temperature is greater than 20 degrees), as well as prolonged episodes of increased heat load, with average daily temperatures not yet observed “.
Mr. Tymbios mentions the above as a consequence of our region for the near future, to also add that “by 2040, the average temperature of the region will increase by around 2.2 degrees. While, according to conservative forecasts “, he says,” the demand for water will double by 2050 and the rainfall will decrease by 10-15% during the same period. In addition, climate variability is expected to increase, which means that average values from one climate period to another may not vary significantly, but there may be significant variation from year to year. Finally, the change in the motion of the summary systems, in combination with the differentiation of the Earth's surface due to desertification, is expected to be a suitable ground for the rise of dust in the atmosphere and its transport over long distances “.
Asked what to expect the consequences of climate change at the international level, Mr. Tymbios replied that there are “direct” and “indirect” consequences. “The effects of rising Earth temperatures are immediate, both with the general increase in atmospheric temperature observed, with record average temperatures for the planet in recent years, and with a non-direct effect, which gradually leads to its differentiation. climate. The high temperatures do not favor the rainfall, which in most areas will decrease on average “.
It then goes on to explain in detail the paradoxical changes that the climate is due to due to climate change. “The atmosphere in conditions of increased temperature can hold more water vapor and this will lead to an increase in the available energy in case of storms, so more intense will be the phenomena that accompany storms (hail, wind, heavy rainfall, electrical activity). More complex effects, perhaps not immediately felt, but are expected to “adversely affect the climate,” Tymbius points out, are, for example, the melting of ice in the Arctic Circle, which will supply freshwater to the Atlantic Ocean. and this will change the density of the surface water, preventing the warm surface current of the Gulf of Mexico from reaching Europe and North America (for many scientists, the Gulf of Mexico stream is Europe's winter 'heater'). “This will affect the movement of weather systems and reduce organized winter rainfall in Europe, significantly drying out its climate,” he concludes. p>
A new report by the UN climate expert (Giec), released in early March, is clear: the effects of human-induced global warming are not just about the future. Droughts, floods, heat waves, fires, food insecurity, water scarcity, disease, rising sea levels & # 8230; Between 3.3 and 3.6 billion people are already “very vulnerable,” the report said. If people do not decide very quickly to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they will face a flood of inevitable and “sometimes irreversible” consequences in the coming decades.
“Overheating haunts us. “Ignoring it is no longer an option,” said Hans-Otto Portner, co-chair of the Giec team that prepared the report. While global warming has risen by an average of about 1.1 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, the world community committed in 2015 to the Paris Agreement to limit temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius if is possible at 1.5 degrees.
In the first part of the report, which was released last August, Giec estimated that the mercury would reach the threshold of 1.5 degrees around 2030, ten years earlier than expected. But the second part, released this month – a third earlier in early April on solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – underscores that even a temporary overrun of 1.5 degrees would trigger new “irreversible” damage to sensitive ecosystems, such as poles, mountains and coasts, with a domino effect in the communities where they live.
The report also predicts that 3 to 14% of terrestrial species will disappear even with + 1.5 degrees Celsius and how, by 2050, about one billion people will live in endangered coastal areas, large coastal cities or small islands. “If we stick to our current commitments, emissions are expected to increase by almost 14% over this decade. It would be a disaster. “Any chance of keeping the 1.5-degree Celsius target alive will be eliminated,” said Antonio Guterres, who blamed countries with high emissions “setting fire to the only house we have.” “This resignation of the leadership is criminal.” Despite these findings, many countries, mainly China, India and Saudi Arabia, tried during the negotiations to achieve the elimination of references to the target of +1.5 points, various sources who participated in the talks told Agence France-Presse./p>