Weather records will be obliterated more often in the future, says KNMI
The chance of future weather records being broken more often will increase as long as the earth continues to warm up, according to the KNMI. In addition, according to the meteorological institute, it is possible that the old records will also be crushed more easily, rather than by a small margin.
The official heat record of 35.6 degrees Centigrade set in 1947 in De Bilt was crushed one day in July 2019 by almost a full two degrees, with the temperature hitting 37.5 in the meteorological center of the country. This does not happen every year, but records like these will be crushed more often with the climate warming, according to the KNMI.
Since 1980, the chance of these new records set by wide margins have been systematically increasing, research showed. Now there is a 2 percent chance per year that the record temperature will be broken by a significant difference, but around the year 2060 that will already become a 3 percent chance. The latter equates to once every thirty years.
If the temperature increases at a constant rate, so too will the probability of records being crushed. But if the earth warms up faster and exponentially, the chance of smashing old records will also increase every year, according to the KNMI. "The only way to stop record rainfall is to limit global warming," the institute said.
The international panel of climate scientists, IPCC, also explained in a much-discussed report last year that extremely high outliers are becoming more common. The chance of temperatures that only occurred once every half century in the period up to 1900 can now be expected almost five times worldwide in the same time frame.
Due to the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the temperature on the planet has risen on average 1.1 degrees since people started burning fossil fuels en masse. If it rises further to 1.5 degrees, the kind of heat that people were exposed to once every half century will soon be encountered about 9 times per 50 years, the report made clear.
"The entire temperature distribution is shifting. What was really unlikely before is now happening more often," agrees climate researcher Detlef van Vuuren. The professor from Utrecht University says that in the past it was easier for people to say "that the weather is variable." It is now very clear that this is a pattern, he said. "If people start to see that, the support for measures may also be greater."
Reporting by ANP