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This is how the climate crisis is affecting Norway and the world now – VG

This is how the climate crisis is affecting Norway and the world now – VG
This is how the climate crisis is affecting Norway and the world now – VG

Less than 10 minutes ago

Typhoon Nanmadol has hit Japan this weekend, and could become the biggest storm the country has seen in 70 years. It is the latest in a series of extreme weather events this summer.

– What we are seeing now is simply unique. It has been announced, but what we used to see as extreme is now the new normal.

The director of the Bjerknes Center for Climate Research in Bergen, Kikki Flesche Kleiven, has just been to a conference with climate scientists from all over the world.

England has recently experienced 40 degrees Celsius, a record scientists claim could not have occurred without global warming.

According to Kleiven, her British colleagues were clear that this was a record they expected to see when the world has passed a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees, sometime between 2030 and 2050.

But not now.

– It is both surprising and terrifying, I would say. When we move towards a world that is two degrees warmer, what will we experience in southern Norway, which is not so far from England? asks Kleiven.

The world was already 1.11 degrees warmer last year.

This summer was the hottest ever in Europe, the EU’s climate monitoring service has determined. The record is set for the third year in a row.

– What worries me is that England has not been equipped for this type of heat wave. We see that climate can be a crisis amplifier – now you have war, prolonged drought, an energy crisis and sky-high prices, and then a heat wave comes on top of that.

But it wasn’t just Europe that was overheating.

The heat wave spread around him like a suffocating blanket. It started in the Middle East, India and Japan in May and June. In July, it hit China so hard that it may be the most extreme heat wave ever recorded on the planet. It then slipped into Africa and up to Europe.

Afterwards, a unique extreme drought followed on three continents at the same time. The climate scientists stood back in surprise. Did this really happen?

COOLING OFF: In July, several people gathered around the fountain in Seville, Spain. Photo: JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

– In addition, the strength of the heat wave and the drought have surprised me and most others, says Tore Furevik, director of the Nansen Center and professor at the University of Bergen.

– What does that tell you?

– It perhaps says that the climate models have not been able to capture the most extreme results.

– What will be next?

– It is impossible to predict. But I can say for sure that there will be no less extreme weather in the future. There will be more. We will have even stronger heat waves than we have seen this year, and even heavier downpours. Unfortunately, says Furevik.

– Does everything go so much faster that you climate scientists have to rewrite your models?

– We have to take into account that things can be worse than what the models say. The extreme will become the new normal, but at the same time that will not become normal either – because everything will get progressively worse until greenhouse gas emissions go to zero.

– Is it brutal?

– Yes. That’s it. The outlook is a bit bleak, but I am optimistic. The world can become one hundred percent self-sufficient in renewable energy. We can solve this, because it is a man-made situation, replies the professor.

Norway is among the luckiest in the world class. Since we live so far north, we will not get the most extreme effects of heat or drought.

The scientists expect us to get warmer and wetter, with wilder weather. The fact that there has been a drought in southern Norway this summer is surprising to the researchers, says Bjørn Hallvard Samset at the Cicero Center for Climate Research.

– We don’t quite know why yet, whether it is a climate effect or natural variation. But southern Norway has several times in recent years been much drier than the climate models have predicted, says Samset.

MUDDER MARETITT: This summer the water level was so low in the Tisleifjorden in Hallingdal that the floating jetty was covered in mud. Photo: Nora Savosnick / VG

He is one of the main authors behind the latest main report from the UN Climate Panel.

– An insidious thing we see is that the seasons are changing and that the permafrost in the north is thawing. It does not affect us on a daily basis, but will slowly but surely change Norwegian society.

In concrete terms, climate change means that many people in the lowlands may lose their ski season.

– It is a small loss compared to Pakistan, but it affects us.

Increased heat and drought are devastating in themselves, but they also intensify some of the most dramatic disasters that characterize the news.

In Pakistan, the heat and drought came first, then the flood.

– I wouldn’t be able to imagine that a third of Pakistan would end up under water, says senior researcher Samset at Cicero.

He is actually more shocked by how vulnerable society is to extreme weather, than the fact that the weather is coming.

– The summer this year has been a wake-up call for us. When the extreme weather first comes, it is more serious than we had imagined, says Samset.

We have not seen the full extent yet of the flood in Pakistan, according to the senior researcher. The Great Flood is a crowning example of how several weather events combine:

The heat causes the water on the ground to evaporate. That steam must eventually come down again, but the parched soil is less able to remove large amounts of water.

– The precipitation came on the eve of a really strong heat wave, and much of the soil was rock hard. The water had nowhere to run off, says Samset.

On top of this, the glaciers in the Himalayas in the north are melting faster than before. Pakistan got water from all sides simultaneously.

COLLAPSES: Residents of the Kalam Valley in northern Pakistan balance along the edge of what used to be a main road. Photo: Sherin Zada ​​/ AP

Climate scientists are skeptical to point to individual incidents and say that “this is happening because of global warming” without having research that explains concretely why.

The climate minister in Pakistan has already come out and pointed out that the country is facing a disaster due to the western world’s emissions of greenhouse gases.

– What they point to, which is important, is that climate change has existential consequences for some populations. Those who are affected are often not those who have contributed so much to the emissions. It is important to have it with you when the countries gather for climate negotiations later this year, says Siri Eriksen.

The professor of climate and development at the Norwegian University of Environmental and Biosciences (NMBU) is also one of the main authors behind the latest main report from the UN climate panel.

All the extreme weather events clearly show people that climate change is happening now, says Eriksen. Not in a few years, but here and now.

– We have known this, but we have more research and clearer findings that show that the pace is going faster than we thought just a few years ago, Eriksen continues.

Forest fires are nothing new in Australia, southern Europe and the USA. But the countries have been able to prepare before.

– California no longer has a fire season. Now it can burn all year round, says climate researcher Bjørn Hallvard Samset.

According to the UN climate panel, there is more “fire weather” than before. The fire is moving into new areas, to places where people live and which have not been seen as dangerous.

Four years ago, vacationing Greeks fled the flames outside Greece. The places where Greeks went to escape the heat of the cities had suddenly become the center of a terrible tragedy. Families never reached the sea, they held each other when they were found.

The following year, a bushfire season started on the eastern side of Australia that lasted for eight months. Fire-damaged and dehydrated koalas that sought out people for water and help became the symbol of three billion animals that were probably killed or injured.

Millions of residents on the Japanese island of Kyushu were warned to seek shelter before Typhoon Nanmadol made landfall on Sunday.

It is the first time the island with 13 million inhabitants has received a super warning, according to the BBC. This typhoon could be the biggest storm Japan has seen in 70 years, and it is moving in an area not used to typhoons.

A typhoon and a hurricane are the same weather phenomenon, but they have different names based on where in the world they occur. Both are cyclones above a certain strength. The tropical cyclones, called typhoons, affect both poor and rich communities in the coastal zones around the Pacific Ocean.

They hit where many people live, says climate researcher Kikki Kleiven.

– The cyclones are getting worse. Not because there will be more of them, but because the strongest categories will become stronger. We will get versions for which we do not currently have categories, says Kleiven.

These extreme weather events are dramatic and dominate the news. While other major changes happen quietly, such as melting glaciers and animal species moving to find colder areas.

There is still time, says Siri Eriksen.

– What we do now in the near future and this decade, with both emission reduction and adapting, has a very big impact on what kind of future we get. So, in a way, we have a very large scope and responsibility now.

– What do you think we should think about this?

– I think that this is a signal that we must and should change to a more sustainable society. It is a signal that changes are needed, and also a signal to the politicians that it will become more difficult the longer we wait.

We have to do two things at once, according to Eriksen – both cut emissions and prepare for a future with greater climate risk.

– We have to adapt, because the changes are already happening. At the same time, we must reduce warming by cutting our emissions, because we are unable to adapt ourselves out of the problems.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: climate crisis affecting Norway world

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