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50°C temperature becoming more frequent: Report

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sep 15, 2021 04:00 AM IST

The number of extremely hot days in a year – when the temperature soars past the 50 degrees Celsius mark – has doubled across the world since the 1980s, according to an analysis by BBC which underlined the harsh realities of the global climate crisis

The number of extremely hot days in a year – when the temperature soars past the 50 degrees Celsius mark – has doubled across the world since the 1980s, according to an analysis by BBC which underlined the harsh realities of the global climate crisis.

Climate experts fear that the dreaded 50°C mark could soon be recorded in more parts of the world unless fossil fuel emissions are kept on a tight leash.(HT File)
Climate experts fear that the dreaded 50°C mark could soon be recorded in more parts of the world unless fossil fuel emissions are kept on a tight leash.(HT File)

The study says the number of days on which the mercury goes past 50°C has been consistently going up in every subsequent decade since 1980.

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Between 1980 and 2009, temperatures went past the 50°C mark 14 days per year on average. But between 2010 and 2019, that number shot up to 26 days, the BBC analysis has found.

That apart, the temperature mark of 45°C has also witnessed a sharp jump during the same time period, being recorded an extra two weeks per year on average.

The 50°C mark is commonplace in the West Asia region, especially during the long summers. But climate scientists sat up and took note when nearly-50°C temperatures began to be recorded in more temperate parts of the world, such as in Canada and Italy, this summer. Italy witnessed a record high of 48.8°C and Canada saw the mercury shoot up to a high of 49.6°C.

Climate experts fear that the dreaded 50°C mark could soon be recorded in more parts of the world unless fossil fuel emissions are kept on a tight leash.

If more and more temperate parts of the planet see temperatures booming past the 50°C mark, the entire human race would end up facing unprecedented challenges.

“We need to act quickly. The faster we cut our [fossil fuel] emissions, the better off we’ll all be,” says Dr Sihan Li, a climate researcher at School of Geography and Environment at University of Oxford, according to the BBC study. “With continued emissions and lack of action, not only will these extreme heat events become more severe and more frequent, but emergency response and recovery will become more challenging.”

The same analysis also quotes Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of Environmental Change Institute at University of Oxford. “The increase [in temperatures] can be 100% attributed to the burning of fossil fuels,” says Dr Otto, echoing the concerns of Dr Li.

Climate scientists fear that the unbridled burning of fossil fuels has invariably been resulting in the whole world warming up faster than before, which in turn would make extreme temperatures more likely in the near future.

Experts fear, as the analysis points out, that extreme temperatures can be dangerous for both flora and fauna, with human civilisation facing unavoidable challenges, such as problems with infrastructure and power systems.

The BBC analysis is likely to come up when the world’s key stakeholders in the fight against the climate crisis converge for a major UN summit in Glasgow in November, known as COP26. The gathering could see governments around the world given emission-cut targets in a bid to reign in rising temperatures.

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