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Extreme weather to become norm in 80+ countries even if warming is limited to 1.5°C

04:30 PM May 03, 2023 IST | Wahid Bhat
extreme weather to become norm in 80  countries even if warming is limited to 1 5°c

A new study warns that heat waves, droughts, extreme wind events and heavy rains could become frequent in about 20 countries, even if the world manages to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The study published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, study suggests these impacts could become permanent in 37 countries if warming reaches 2 degrees Celsius and up to 85 countries could be affected if it reaches 3 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.


Heat waves and droughts on the rise

A new study reveals that if global warming exceeds 3°C compared to the pre-industrial period, the world will witness a disproportionate increase in compounding events, with multiple extremes occurring simultaneously or consecutively. Such extremes could become up to 9.6 times more frequent.

Number of individual and concurrent extremes per capita (a) at +1 ∘C and (b, c, d) change at +1.5, +2 and +3 ∘C with respect to +1 ∘C. Photo Credit:

The study warns that the impacts associated with the composite events would be greater than the individual extremes, as the combinations of extreme winds and precipitation could result in further infrastructure destruction and economic losses due to storm surge and flooding.


According to a study, the Amazon, southern Africa, the Sahel, India and Southeast Asia are expected to experience rising temperatures and are the regions most vulnerable to extreme events. The frequency of heat waves has more than doubled in subtropical and mid-high latitude countries and has quadrupled in tropical countries compared to pre-industrial levels.


With a warming of 3°C, the frequency of heat waves in tropical nations is expected to increase 7.5 times. However, isolated drought events are likely to lower global temperatures, as droughts and heat waves are likely to occur alongside higher levels of global warming.


Increasing extreme climate events worldwide

Simultaneous heatwave and drought events are projected to increase by 4.5 to 6.8 times in tropical countries with warming of 1.5°C, 2°C and 3°C. With a warming of 3°C, the simultaneous events of drought and heat waves are estimated to increase 9.6 times in mid- and high-latitude countries and 8.4 times in subtropical countries compared to pre-industrial levels.

The study predicts that the occurrence of maximum rainfall events in one day and extreme winds in tropical countries will increase 3.3, 4 and 5.3 times at 1.5 °C, 2 °C and 3 °C, respectively, in compared to pre-industrial levels. These composite events could also increase in subtropical and mid-high latitude countries with warming of 3°C.

The study also found a significant increase in simultaneous heat wave and drought events in three climatic regions, with the most significant increase in northern mid- and high-latitude countries and subtropical countries. The increase in maximum one-day rain and wind events is expected to be the highest in tropical countries.

Extreme events and concurrent occurrences

The study analyzes the impacts of climate change on extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, heavy rainfall, and extreme wind events.

The authors use daily maximum temperature to determine heat wave events and daily soil moisture data to calculate drought events. Heavy precipitation events are defined as days when precipitation exceeds the monthly threshold, while days with extreme wind speeds are defined as days when daily wind speed exceeds the 90th percentile.

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Wahid Bhat

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Wahid Bhat is an accomplished environmental journalist with a passion for covering climate change and environmental issues. He holds a degree from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and has served as the Media Fellow for NFI India and Thomson Reuters Foundation. Wahid's reporting has been published in a range of respected outlets including Earth Journalism, Global Village Space, The Quint, Youth Ki Awaaz, Devdiscourse, and Kashmir Observer. With an extensive background in the field, Wahid has established himself as a trusted voice in environmental journalism, and his work serves as an important contribution to the conversation around climate change and sustainability. You can follow Wahid on Twitter at @Wahidbhat32.

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