How climate change worsens heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and floods

Climate change is the most likely explanation for why Dubai has been experiencing increasingly heavy rainfall events, a new study says.

Here are four ways that climate change is linked to extreme weather.

1. More extreme rain

For every 1C rise in average temperature, the atmosphere can hold about 7% more moisture, resulting in more droplets and heavier rainfall, sometimes in a shorter space of time and over a smaller area.

Globally, heavy rainfall events have become more frequent and intense due to human activity, according to the UN’s climate body, the IPCC. This pattern will continue with further warming.

2. Hotter, longer heatwaves

Even a small increase to average temperatures makes a big difference to heat extremes. The distribution of daily temperatures shifts to warmer levels, making hotter days more likely and intense.

Heatwaves are also becoming longer in many places, including the UK. This can happen as a result of heat domes, which are areas of high pressure where hot air is pushed down and trapped, causing temperatures to soar.

3. Longer droughts

Heatwaves fuelled by climate change can worsen droughts by drying out soil. This makes the air above warm up more quickly, leading to more intense heat.

During periods of hot weather, increased demand for water, especially from farmers, puts even more stress on the water supply.

4. More fuel for wildfires

Climate change is making the weather conditions needed for wildfires to spread more likely, the IPCC says.

Extreme, long-lasting heat draws more moisture out of soils and vegetation. These tinder-dry conditions provide fuel for fires, which can spread at an incredible speed.

Read the full article by BBC News here.

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