Earth is getting even hotter at night as February smashes temperature records
• Scientists claim El Niño, man-made global warming are to blame
• NIMET predicts lower volume of rain, flash floods in Nigeria
• How to cope with intense heat, by expert
More explanations are emerging on why the weather is getting even hotter especially at night even as experts proffer solutions on how to cope with intense heat.
Experts say 2016 may break all the records. In Nigeria and many parts of the northern hemisphere, particularly in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the United States (U.S.), the start to 2016 has been uncharacteristically warm.
Meteorologists are warning that 2016 could smash the records and become the warmest on record.
The annual global temperature forecast from the Met Office suggests 2016 will be between 0.72°C and 0.95°C above the long-term average of 14°C.
Man-made global warming, along with a smaller effect from the natural El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific, are expected to push temperatures towards record levels next year.
El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (commonly called ENSO) and is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific (between approximately the International Date Line and 120°W), including off the Pacific coast of South America. El Niño Southern Oscillation refers to the cycle of warm and cold temperatures, as measured by sea surface temperature, SST, of the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
El Niño is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific. The cool phase of ENSO is called “La Niña” with SST in the eastern Pacific below average and air pressures high in the eastern and low in western Pacific. The ENSO cycle, both El Niño and La Niña, causes global changes of both temperatures and rainfall. Mechanisms that cause the oscillation remain under study.
Developing countries dependent upon agriculture and fishing, particularly those bordering the Pacific Ocean, are the most affected.
The forecast for 2016 is higher than the predictions for 2015 made a year ago, which suggested temperatures would be 0.52°C to 0.76°C above the 1961 to 1990 long-term average.
The latest data for 2015 suggests it is 0.72°C above the average, making it the hottest year on record.
Indeed, the Earth is getting even hotter as planet’s temperature rose to yet another record high last month, reaching 1.5°C above average. That according to unofficial data sets that have grabbed the attention of even the most sceptical weather forecasters.
Scientists believe the unusual heat is a combination of El Niño climate patterns and man-made global warming.
In Nigeria, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has predicted that there would be fewer rains in 2016 but with higher intensity to cause flash fllods.
Also, climate scientists have uncovered evidence that nights are warming faster than days.Using data from the last 50 years, they show that while the overall trend is warming, night time temperatures have been increasing much more rapidly than daytime temperatures.
Researchers say this is because night time temperatures are more sensitive to climate forces, and global climate models used to track climate change may be underestimating temperatures.
According to climatologists, the reason for the rapid increase is a band of air close the ground, called the planetary boundary layer (PBL).
This thin layer of the Earth’s atmosphere is distinct from the upper layers and changes in thickness over the course of the day-night cycle.
The findings are published in the International Journal of Climatology.Owing to the sensitivity of heat exchange in the Earth’s lower atmosphere, the report explains that it is having an effect on the number of colder nights.
It explains that the number of extremely cold nights has dropped by as much as half over the last fifty years, while extreme-cold days have dropped by a quarter.
The researchers add that beyond climate models, understanding the sensitivity of the system could have an impact on health, including deaths caused by extreme temperatures and even on growing crops.
Meanwhile, Eric Holthaus at Slate points out that that it took from the dawn of the industrial age until last October to reach the first 1°C increase. But it Is only taken the last five months to go 0.4°C further.
“Even accounting for the margin of error associated with these preliminary datasets, that means it’s virtually certain that February handily beat the record set just last month,” he writes. “That’s stunning.”
The data makes February the most unusually warm month ever recorded, scientists from the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), United States (U.S.) said.
United States National Aeronautic Space Agency (NASA) scientist, Roy Spencer, told DailyMailUK, there were ‘whopping’ temperature anomalies especially in the Arctic.
For instance, certain regions of the Arctic were more than 16°C warmer than ‘normal’ for the month of February.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the February anomaly 1.17°C was a full 0.32°C warmer than the previous record set in April 1998.
Meanwhile, a leading consultant in Public Health and Disaster Management, Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe, has however proffered some tips to enable people cope with the scorching heats in parts of the country.
She told The Guardian: “The weather is unbearably hot. Excessive heat can have harmful effect on our health. It can lead to dehydration-due to excessive loss of water, among other. It can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke. It can also lead to death.
“The evidence about the risks to health from heat waves is extensive and consistent from around the world. Excessive exposure to high temperatures can kill. During the summer heatwave in Northern France in August 2003, unprecedentedly high day- and night-time temperatures for a period of three weeks resulted in 15,000 excess deaths. The vast majority of these were among older people. In England that year, there were over 2,000 excess deaths over the 10 day heatwave period which lasted from 4 to 13 August 2003, compared to the previous five years over the same period.
“The first Heatwave Plan for England was published in 2004 in response to this event. Since that time we have had a significant heatwave in 2006, when it was estimated that there were about 680 excess deaths compared to similar periods in previous years. In 2009, there were approximately 300 excess summer deaths during a heatwave compared to similar periods in previous years.
Since 2004, England has developed heatwave plan which is updated annually, based on evidence and lessons learnt in previous years. It is not surprising that excess deaths during the heatwave are reducing, due to concerted planned efforts.”
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