If a human being is able to survive the heatwave, it’s not because of an overpriced fan, and also not because you finally convinced the landlord to get an AC. Those multiple stinging showers that freeze your head for the main part of the day are also not the reason why we are still alive after the record three digits of heat. It’s because we know it’s temporary, so yep, life is a placebo, everyone.
But with so many climate anomalies happening all over the world in the past years, it’s hard to stay positive. What if we are doomed to hurricanes, floods, droughts, record snowfalls, and chunks of ice falling from the sky like it's not a big deal? I mean, have we played with Mother Nature for too long?
So in order to pay tribute to the powers of weather that we often underestimate, and to reflect on the scope and frequency of such crazy climate conditions, we are about to dive into pics that show how your plans should never dare to challenge the weather forecast.
Bored Panda talked to Rob Jones, a TV meteorologist and hurricane chaser who runs an all-things-weather TikTok channel where he shares interesting facts and peculiarities about climate anomalies. As a child living in Florida, Rob said he was interested in their daily summertime thunderstorms and seasonal threats from hurricanes. “So it was only natural to attend the University of Miami (Hurricanes), study weather, and pursue a career in meteorology,” he added.
When it comes to the most extreme weather conditions, Rob named places like Death Valley, California, or Antarctica. But, generally, “people don’t live in the places where the most extreme temperatures occur on earth,” he said.
However, things are changing now. “The temperature in places like the village of Lytton, British Columbia in Canada reached 49.6°C in June 2021 when the average high is closer to 25°C,” Rob said and added that: “Some scientists have calculated that this is a one in 10,000 year heat event for that part of the world.”
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The meteorologist suggested that “a warming world may have been a factor in placing the right weather patterns in place to have such an extreme event in that location. Just think, Las Vegas, Nevada has never recorded a temperature that high!”
“When we talk about extreme weather, we think of hurricanes and tornadoes. The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season was extremely active by measure of sheer number of storms, but not the most active by other measures. There’s always more than one metric to look at when defining hurricanes since they are very complex beings.”
Rob continued: “The most intense landfalling hurricane of the season was Laura, which struck with 240 km/h winds. We tend to see more about this type of weather because of the incredible images. There were a total of 81 storm-related deaths from Laura, but imagine that the heatwave last month in British Columbia, Canada probably had more fatalities with the Vancouver coroner indicating that there were more than 100 deaths suspected from the heat,” he explained.
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However, when it comes to extreme weather events, Rob suggests not starting to jump to conclusions immediately. “First, let me start off by explaining that 1 single extreme weather event cannot be definitively linked to climate change. Weather refers to short-term atmospheric conditions, while climate is the average of the weather over a long period of time, such as the climatological standard of 30 years.”
Rob added that “while it might be tempting to use an extreme weather event to highlight climate change, it is not scientifically good practice (or accurate) to do so.”
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Having said that, the meteorologist said that there are a few reasons why it seems like we are seeing more frequent extreme weather events. “The first is that everyone has a camera with them at all times in order to capture intense images of extreme weather. The second reason is that we disseminate information more and more widely everyday through traditional media, new media, and social media.”
“Yet another reason we capture more frequent extreme weather is because we are building large cities in places that experience extreme weather events like hurricanes, for example. Miami had a population of 300 people 125 years ago and now it encompasses a megalopolis of over 6,000,000 people. Wouldn’t more people experience hurricanes if we build large cities in a hurricane zone?”
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Rob explained further: “We build homes in river flood plains, construct dams, levies, and other unnatural barriers in locations that are naturally meant to flood. Sometimes 'human nature' is no match for Mother Nature and she reclaims what is rightfully hers. Of course, the final reason is that we may very well be seeing more frequent and more extreme weather, but the cumulative observational evidence is not yet clear.”
This is because “climate is a long term average of the weather and we simply need more data on a multidecadal time scale,” Rob added. “Climate scientists still expect that as our world continues to warm, we will experience more extreme weather… sometimes more extreme in intensity, sometimes more extreme in frequency, and sometimes both.”
He concluded that “Weather is our world’s way of redistributing solar energy trapped inside of our atmosphere,” and added that “The more energy that is trapped by rising levels of greenhouse gases, the more redistribution our atmosphere needs to do in order to try and reach equilibrium.”