Extreme weather is already commonplace – we need to increase society’s resilience and capacity


Climate warming is based on the fact that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases at the molecular level absorb the sun's heat. Due to the spatial shape of the molecule, solar radiation energy creates potential energy between atoms as they move away from each other. This is released as movement energy and the movement of atoms and molecules is heat. If we put gas in two test bottles, carbon dioxide in one and air in the other and heat them with the same power, the bottle with carbon dioxide will heat up faster and stay warm longer. So the gases do not heat up at the same rate.

The greenhouse effect is actually important for life on Earth. Otherwise, the Earth's average temperature would be around zero, and life would hardly survive. The average temperature of the earth today is about 15 degrees. Outside the tropics there would not be enough heat without winds and ocean currents, the northern and southern regions absorb less heat than they release into space. Ocean currents and winds transport heat outside the tropics and make life possible there. The Earth's thermal system is very sensitive and a small increase in the average temperature can change the normal distribution of the weather considerably. In addition, it can significantly affect ocean currents, low pressures and winds. When the normal distribution of weather moves forward along the axis, more extreme weather phenomena due to excess heat can be expected. See diagram below. Integrating, we see how the area of extreme weather increases considerably as the normal distribution moves forward on the axis.

Simply, the fact that the climate and weather system receives more energy leads to stronger low pressure, rain, storms, floods, winds and heat. This, in turn, can also cause stronger high pressure, cold and hailstorms elsewhere. For example, when an area receives more solar radiation and heat, a stronger low pressure occurs because the warm air rises upwards creating a low pressure, and because of this, winds and rains are stronger as the air pressure differences tend to equalize. Climate change accelerates and catalyzes extreme weather phenomena by bringing more energy to the system, but even small changes in the climate system and the values of its variables can cause surprising changes due to various feedback functions and complex interactions. Due to climate change, extreme weather phenomena are now commonplace and we have to develop adaptation, resilience, cooperation, technology, capacity and resources, otherwise the price will be millions of lives and trillions of euros and huge destruction in society.

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