The menacing one: The UK is being battered by Storm Dennis which has already inundated several parts of the country even as meteorologists warn of a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours | Photo: UPI

Prepare for more intense storms, climate scientists warn UK

Britain was battered by rain this past weekend as Storm Dennis flooded many parts of the country and killed at least three people. Hundreds of people have been evacuated and the worst-hit regions are south Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire. Yellow weather warnings (flood warnings) are in place in several parts of the UK. Climate scientists have warned the UK to brace for similar storms in the future as rainfall becomes more intense with climate change. There was an urgent need for more natural drainage systems, scientists said, to avoid having to raise the sea level every year to counter the flooding. 

India records excessive rain in winter: IMD

When it rains, it pours, especially in India. After battling a ferocious monsoon comes news that winter in the country was also unusually wet and cold. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), November rain in northwest India was the highest ever since 1951.

Two depressions and one cyclonic storm named Pawan were also observed over the Arabian Sea – which is a record for the month since 1891, the IMD said. An unusually cold spell was also observed in the second half of December in the north and central regions of India. In the northwest, especially, a maximum temperature of 17.5°C was recorded, which is 3.2°C below normal.

Parts of Amazon emitting more CO2 than they absorb

Months after the Amazon wildfires caught the world’s attention comes new research that suggests that the one-fifth of the rainforest is emitting more CO2 than it absorbs. The main culprit, according to the decade-long study, is deforestation. Dead trees release the carbon dioxide that was absorbed when alive.

The main concern the study raises is that the Amazon, which is a key carbon store, may be turning into a carbon source faster than anticipated, which could have a detrimental impact on the fight against climate change.  

Global warming will destroy cloud cover that protects Earth from solar energy: New research

So far, there has been consensus on how much the planet will warm up to in the future if CO2 levels double from pre-industrial levels – this is 3°C with an error bar extending from a low of 1.5°C to a high of 4.5°C. But new research overturns this consensus and paints a picture that is much worse than these estimates.

Recent climate models have changed the way they observe clouds and have made a startling discovery – cloud cover, which keeps the earth cool and protects us from solar radiation, will be drastically reduced as global warming increases. These new climate models are, therefore, pushing the climate’s sensitivity to doubling CO2 levels a degree or more higher, ranging up to 5.6°C. The revised estimates put the Paris Agreement and climate deals in serious jeopardy. 

Carbon emissions did not rise in 2019: IEA

In some apparent good news, global carbon emissions stopped growing last year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). After two years of a consistent increase, emissions ‘flatlined’ at 33 gigatonnes in 2019, the report stated. It cited the expansion of wind and solar energy sources, a switch from coal to natural gas by some countries, and additional nuclear power output for the lull. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations, however, continue to rise, according to the report.Meanwhile, a new study found global biomass fire emissions were roughly 30% more than what was previously published. This is significant because these fires affect greenhouse gas atmospheric balance significantly.