Sunday, 06 December 2015 19:16

Could it actually be too warm to be good?

Mid-summer temperatures in late autumn Mid-summer temperatures in late autumn

The summery temperatures have been absolutely blissful and my cat and I have been fighting over lunch and sunbathing spots on my balcony. Daytime street scenes have been looking and feeling very much like summer, with people commenting left and right on how wonderful it all is. But is it really?

I’m generally the first one to brush away any ‘But we need the rain’ worries, assuring that the rain will come in time, but this latest summer week did get me thinking. The thinking got me reading up on it, which then got me worrying. Some of the things I learned are alarming – no matter how amazing it feels to wear summer clothes in late autumn. It seems the entire world’s climate has reached a major turning point.

The 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Paris at the end of the month, and is said to want to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. One is inclined to wonder whether this will be too little too late.

According to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “The Earth’s surface temperature has surged into uncharted territory, because of a record-strength El Niño event, combined with the long-term rise in temperatures due to human-caused global warming: October 2015 was Earth’s warmest month on record by a huge margin”.

So while I was at it, I also brushed up on my El Niñoknowledge. “ An El Niño is a temporary change in the climate of the Pacific ocean, in the region around the equator. During an El Niño, the physical relationships between wind, ocean currents, temperature and biosphere break down into destructive patterns,” I read.

El Niños happen irregularly, usually every three to seven years. A strong El Niño can last a year or more before conditions return to normal. One can see its effects in both the ocean and the atmosphere and ultimately the world’s climate.

“This year’s El Niño is already one of the three strongest ever seen, but cannot account for all of the year’s warmth, as 13 of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. Rather, it is the combination of long-term warming and the strong El Niño pushing Earth toward its second consecutive warmest year on record,” reports CNN.

The Cyprus Institute shared more great news based on results of global climate models: because of intense industrialisation, rapid population growth and extensive land conversion, the two dozen countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East with some 400 million inhabitants are expected to become a global climate change ‘hot spot’.

Their studies indicate that between 2020 and 2050 we should expect an increase in extremely hot summer days with maximum temperatures exceeding 38˚C for an additional two weeks per year. By the end of the century the number of hot days per year in Nicosia will increase by two months, resembling conditions currently experienced in cities like Cairo or Bahrain.

After having found out all this, I will now for the first time ever chime in: “We need the rain”.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of November 27, 2015 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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