By: Jenin Kaddoura
Summary. Intense heat waves take place in southern Europe every summer as temperatures continue to rise. Southern European countries are also known as “Mediterranean Europe” as they have coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea, and thus foster a Mediterranean climate. This climate is characterized by dry and hot summers, which further intensifies any risks of climate change. Hardships like heat waves, wildfires, and droughts are likely to happen more frequently and intensely as the earth continues to warm. This summer, extreme and deadly wildfires raged across southern Europe, destroying villages and forests. Countries like Spain also saw record-breaking high temperatures, while other countries asked pregnant employees and elderly women to stay at home. Aside from the naturally dry climate, scientists believe that the burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal and the abandonment of rural areas is what worsens these events. Furthermore, wild growth significantly affected unmanaged agricultural land, and contributed to the quicker spread of the fires as well. On the other hand, forest ecosystems and biodiversity are also greatly impacted by these longer and harsher heat waves. The earth’s climate crisis encompasses heat-related and other corresponding issues, therefore, a big part of the contributing factors to the issue are human-caused. Human activities and emissions drastically increased greenhouse gases’ concentration in the atmosphere, yielding a human-induced global warming issue. Consequently, people living in Mediterranean-like climate areas have to deal with amplified effects like extreme heat and severe drought, while people in colder regions are challenged with catastrophic floods. Unfortunately, serious health issues are also arising from the extreme weather events. Likewise, animals and other exposed organisms are highly threatened due to their vulnerable environmental traits.
Why we should care? We should care about this topic, as it does not only affect the wildlife and far-off countries only, but rather every global citizen. We play a very big role in causing the irreparable damage as well.
I found this article interesting because it covers a very important topic and includes extra relevant information. For example, the article mentioned Algeria (a North African Mediterranean country), Geneva (a city in Switzerland - central Europe), and Turkey which is mostly an Asian country (intercontinental). It also includes statistics that demonstrate the severity of the issue. A thorough explanation regarding the causations and impacts of the heat waves was also provided to highlight other correlated factors. I also found it interesting how a conspiracy about people causing the fires in Italy was mentioned in the article. Overall, the article included a clear explanation of what caused and intensified the crisis, and deeply discussed the effects of the issue as well.
Science in Action.
Dr. Myles Allen is the head of the Climate Dynamics group at the University of Oxford's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department.
Professor Myles Allen’s research looks into observing the greater changes in the climate and the global mean surface warming, which is greatly determined by carbon dioxide emissions. He further researches about the natural and human-caused influences that contribute to climate change. The research also emphasizes the importance of not emitting fossil carbon reserves if goals of avoiding the 2 ͦ C increase in global warming are set. Professor Allen served in the UN and founded the world’s largest climate modeling experiment (the Climate Prediction Project). His research is relevant to the topic discussed, since it covers the issue of global warming and the potential causes of it. Furthermore, the Myles Allen has played a significant role in detecting human influence on climate change and with climate predictions, in which he was even awarded for it.