Netherlands will be hard-hit by climate change with “more extreme” storms, drought
The risks of climate change have also increased for the Netherlands, the KNMI warned in a new research report. The sea level on the Dutch coast may rise faster than previously expected, and the risk of extreme downpours in the summer will increase. Our country may also be faced with drought more often than expected in previous calculations.
In line with the IPCC, the UN panel of client scientists, the KNMI notes that the climate in the Netherlands is also changing faster and faster. "This report highlights the urgency of rapidly developing climate change," said the institute, which combined the IPCC's insights with its own research findings.
If the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming are not reduced quickly, sea levels could rise by up to 1.2 meters by 2100. If the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet accelerates, the rise could reach 2 meters by the end of this century. In 2014, the KNMI's calculations expected a maximum sea-level rise of 1 meter.
The KNMI also foresees that the summer storms will "become more extreme," with a higher chance of katabatic winds, which can occur during severe thunderstorms. Leersum in Utrecht endured such winds on 18 June and experienced how devastating they can be. The katabatic wind injured nine people and caused millions of euros in damage.
Drought is also an increasingly well-known problem in spring and summer. This too may happen more often due to rising temperatures. Periods of drought and heat may also last longer. This is because climate change could make the jet stream weaker. The jet stream is a powerful wind at the height of 9 to 10 kilometers. As the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics decreases, the jet stream may also decrease in strength. As a result, the same weather type can linger for longer.
The Caribbean part of the Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba) may also have to deal with more extreme weather. The KNMI expects stronger hurricanes, with more precipitation on average. Remnants of tropical hurricanes could also reach the North Sea and cause a lot of wind and rainfall in our area.
The Climate Signal is an interim state of affairs. The KNMI reiterates in the publication that the IPCC established that man causes global warming and that the limit of 1.5 degrees warming compared to pre-industrial times is very close. With current CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, 1.5 degrees warming could be a fact within ten years. In the Paris Climate Agreement, world leaders agreed to make every effort to prevent this from happening. The same agreement also states that 2 degrees are the absolute maximum that can be allowed.
At the end of this month, the important COP26 climate summit will start in Glasgow. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and leaders from other countries will meet to discuss solutions to the climate crisis.
Reporting by ANP.