Meteorologist warns of more extreme weather due to global warming

Published August 10, 2021, 11:49 AM

by Xinhua

GENEVA, Switzerland — A meteorologist has warned that more extreme weather like heatwaves and flooding could increase in the coming decades with a rise in temperatures.

People pause in a part of lower Manhattan that increasingly experiences flooding on August 09, 2021 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

“With average temperatures rising, the probability of having periods of strong rains increases also, because the hotter the air gets, the more it can contain water steam, so that can potentially create more rains,” Mikhael Schwander, a meteorologist for MeteoSwiss, a governmental office in Switzerland observing the weather, told Xinhua during an interview on Monday.

According to the meteorologist, heatwaves might also double in frequency in Switzerland and neighboring countries, while rains, although less frequent, could be more intense on average by 2050.

“We would have an increase of frequency and intensity for heatwaves, for example in Geneva, there are 15 days with temperature higher than 30 degrees Celsius in general, in 2060 it would be between 31 and 39 days, doubling the number and even more at the end of this century,” he said.

In Switzerland and other European countries, the rise in temperature could be higher than the global average, because global temperature increases also take into account the temperature on sea surfaces, which increases less rapidly than on the continents, said Schwander.

“For Switzerland, we would have a bit more than 2 degrees Celsius increase compared to the period 1980-2010,” he said.

While some scientists have said that climate change is irreversible, Schwander said that a “vicious circle” can already be observed in the atmosphere.

“Since water steam is a very potent greenhouse gas, the increase of CO2 creates a rise of temperature which brings more water steam in the air, further increasing the rise of temperature,” he said.

In order to reach a carbon neutrality to stop the trend of climate change, Schwander called for an all-round approach.

“It implies a lot of things, it’s all of our way of living for which we would need to find alternatives. I feel like we should change our entire society of consumption to get there,” he said.