(ORDO NEWS) — In 2023, global warming will set the stage for extreme weather everywhere. The consequences are likely to be cataclysmic.
In 2023, the inexorable rise in global warming will continue, bringing increasingly destructive weather that is the hallmark of accelerating climate destruction.
According to NASA, 2022 was one of the hottest years on Earth. This is unusual because a recurring climate pattern in the tropical Pacific – known as ENSO (El Niño South Oscillation) – was in its cool phase.
During this phase, called La Niña, the waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean are noticeably colder than usual, affecting weather patterns around the world.
One effect of La Niña is that it helps keep global temperatures in check. This means that despite the recent widespread heatwaves, wildfires and droughts, we have actually avoided the worst.
The scary thing is that this La Niña will end and eventually turn into the more famous El Niño, in which the waters of the equatorial Pacific become much warmer.
When this happens, the extreme weather that raged on our planet in 2021 and 2022 will fade.
According to current forecasts, La Niña will last until early 2023, becoming, fortunately for us, one of the longest in history (it began in the spring of 2020). Then the equatorial Pacific Ocean will begin to warm up again.
Whether or not it gets hot enough for a full El Niño to develop, 2023 stands a very good chance – without the cooling influence of La Niña – of being the hottest year on record.
A 1.5°C increase in global mean temperature is widely seen as a threshold beyond which climate disruption becomes dangerous.
Beyond this figure, our once-stable climate will begin to break down in earnest, becoming all-pervading, affecting everyone and infiltrating every aspect of our lives.
In 2021, this figure (compared to the average for 1850-1900) will be 1.2°C, and in 2019 – before the development of the last La Niña – it was alarmingly high – 1.36°C. In 2023, when the heat wave rises again, it is quite possible that we will touch or exceed 1.5°C for the first time.
But what exactly would that mean? I wouldn’t be surprised if the record for the highest recorded temperature is broken – currently 54.4°C (129.9°F) in California’s Death Valley.
This could very well happen somewhere in the Middle East or South Asia where temperatures could rise above 55°C. In the UK, the heat may once again exceed the 40°C mark, and in parts of Europe for the first time it may rise to 50°C.
Rising temperatures will inevitably cause severe drought to continue, resulting in reduced crop yields in many parts of the world. In 2022, extreme weather reduced crops in China, India, South America and Europe, exacerbating food insecurity.
Stocks are likely to be below normal in 2023, so another round of crop failure could be devastating. Food shortages in most countries could lead to civil unrest, and rising prices in developed countries would contribute to inflation and a cost-of-living crisis.
One of the most affected regions will be the southwestern United States. Here, the longest drought in 1,200 years has now gone on for 22 years, causing the level of Lake Mead on the Colorado River to drop so much that the capacity of the Hoover Dam power plant has fallen by almost half.
Upriver, on rapidly shrinking Lake Powell, the Glen Canyon Dam is projected to stop generating power in 2023 if the drought continues.
The Hoover Dam could follow suit in 2024. Together, these lakes and dams provide water and electricity to millions of people in seven states, including California.
Interruptions in the supply of water can be a disaster for agriculture, industry and the population of the entire region.
La Niña tends to limit the development of hurricanes in the Atlantic, so when it starts to weaken, you can expect an increase in hurricane activity.
The increase in global temperatures expected in 2023 could lead to extreme heating of the surface waters of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
This will help form and sustain super-hurricanes that amplify winds and storm surges that could destroy a major US city if they hit land.
Direct strikes, rather than glancing strikes, are rare – the closest in decades was Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which made landfall just south of Miami, destroying over 60,000 homes and damaging 125,000 more.
Today, hurricanes are more powerful and wetter, so the impact of the city being in the path of a superstorm in 2023 is likely to be
Contact us: [email protected]