Planet Earth and Space

2019: the hottest year ever

16 May 2019 | Written by La redazione

According to the most recent previsions, the average temperature of the coming years will increase, with risks to health and to the environment.

When we talk about global warming, the risk of misunderstanding is always high. On one hand, a strong scientific consensus shows that average temperatures are increasing, on the other hand, our experience provides us with conflicting information, such as these months with temperatures well below the average. Despite our experience, various estimates indicate that this 2019 could be the hottest year ever recorded.

 

If it’s cold, how can it be the hottest year? To dissolve this doubt, the difference between weather and climate needs to be clarified. By weather we indicate the atmospheric conditions observable in a place at a given time, these are highly variable conditions and regulated by the very complex interaction of multiple local elements, in other words, the weather tells us if it will rain, there will be good weather or it will be cloudy, also estimating the temperature, highly influenced locally by the complex network of meteorological variables. The climate instead indicates a long-term trend of a place. The climate of Oslo, compared to that of Rome, will be decidedly colder, but the weather variations could lead Oslo to have warmer days than Rome.



How hot will it be? As we clarified before, on a local scale it is almost impossible to answer this question: when, however, we talk about climate on a global scale, things are different. The data indicate that this year the temperature of the entire planet will be 1.1 degrees above average, which does not mean that in our city there will be 1.1 more degrees, there could be 3 more, or less: global variations do not correspond directly to weather variations on a local scale, or at least not immediately. That the average global temperature is on the rise is a fact, and its consequences are multiple and complex, not linear: the increase in global temperature can lead to a more marked difference in local and seasonal temperature or extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, frosts, and heat waves, more frequent and in areas where they do not normally occur.

The consequences of global warming, whose human origin is “extremely likely” – a technical term used in scientific literature to indicate a probability of 95-100%, therefore, in non-technical terms, practically a certainty – involve entirely the complex ecosystem of our entire planet, with impacts also on our society. We cannot continue to not answer the responsibly to our activities on our planet, the only one we have.

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