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Antonio Aretxabala Díez, Geologist, School of Architecture of the University of Navarra, Spain

Unprecedented, high-impact extreme weather

The current CO2 level is already the same as it was two million years ago.

Mon, 22 Jul 2013 08:22:00 +0000 Published in Digital newspapers of group Vocento

The current CO2 level is already the same as it was two million years ago. The latest report of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO, belonging to the UN) points out that between 2001 and 2010 was the hottest period known since data climate began to be evaluated in the mid-nineteenth century. They state that in the last decade the planet "has experienced an extreme climate of unprecedented and high impact".

Between 2001 and 2010 most countries broke records, with sea levels rising twice as fast as in the previous century. The last decade has left us with a decrease in Arctic ice without geological precedent, an acceleration in the loss of ice in Greenland that just a year ago set off alarm bells, but no less so in Antarctica or in mountain glaciers such as the Pyrenees where new species are beginning to conquer new ecosystems. Thus, our latest emissions have already caused sea levels to reach an unprecedented fees of three millimeters more each year! The response is mainly expressed through the activation, adjustment or modulation of a range of tectonic and surface processes including the destabilization of recently hydrated zones: earthquakes and complete redistribution of climatic zones. Some savvy wine companies are already buying plots in the future Mediterranean climate: England.

Indeed, when we try to anticipate the potential assessment response of the Earth as a system, it seems prudent to consider that soon, warming levels of 2°C will be inevitable, the consequences of which we are beginning to see in the form of violent notice or catastrophe. The analysis of 66 stations on both sides of the Pyrenees mountain range sample shows that temperatures have risen by 1.2 Degrees from average since 1950.

Temperature may not matter so much, but a parameter was needed for all of us to understand each other. What really matters is what is happening to the climate, and we are already seeing it: we are experiencing extreme events that until recently (and we are talking about a couple of years ago) the academic community still doubted whether it could be a consequence of the so-called "climate change", or not...; now what astounds us is the intensity and frequency of extreme events, how much they have increased. And this is very clear: catastrophes and concatenations of climatic responses that used to occur every hundred years are now occurring every five or ten.

Civilization, and therefore the society of each country, needs to invest in research, needs qualified and experienced scientists to provide us with efficient weapons capable of resisting the onslaught of Nature on the city (seen as the planetary structural unit of the society of the 21st century) and vice versa, advancing effective urban planning proposals so that both do not destroy each other; also anticipating events from the idea that certain elements of the human environment can offer resistance to the negative effects of a catastrophe if we begin to develop the best tools to achieve it: 21st century science, culture and urban planning.

And the figures do not deceive: between 1971 and 2010 the acceleration in the increase of temperatures is unprecedented, and even more, according to this report, the last three decades, beat all records, said Michel Jarraud, University Secretary of the WMO. Cities such as Pamplona, for example, which encompasses 350,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area area , have experienced a record-breaking temperature increase in the last three decades, according to Michel Jarraud, WMO's .The city has experienced so far this year three floods, one of them classified as "historic", a dozen seismic impacts that can be classified as climatequakes or climatic earthquakes, which are the result of the nearly 400 tremors that began in February after several months of historic rains, accompanied by an infinite number of landslides on hillsides that are still moving; we are not lacking in warnings: words to the wise, words to the wise.

Immersed in the great change we cannot ignore what is to come, we have to assume perhaps already, what our grandparents never saw. The report of the UN's WMO, an organization based in Geneva, is entitled "Global climate 2001-2010, a decade of climate extremes" and is published on its website