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认为2020年的灾难是疯狂的吗?专家认为未来会更糟

在将近20年的特大干旱刺激下,创纪录的加利福尼亚州正在燃烧。在北部,俄勒冈州通常不着火的地方都在燃烧。

同时,大西洋的第16号和第17号热带风暴在旋转,这是一年中这个时候的最高记录。强大的台风“海神”本周袭击了日本和朝鲜半岛。上个月,它在死亡谷(Death Valley)达到了130度,这是近一个世纪以来最热的地球。

凤凰城保持着三位数的高温记录,而科罗拉多州在本周经历了90度高温的天气狂降。西伯利亚以其冰冷的气候着称,今年初曾达到100度,并伴有野火。在此之前,澳大利亚和亚马逊风风火火。

在所有这些之中,爱荷华州的残响-奇异的直线风像大飓风一样强大,造成数十亿美元的损失-几乎没有被注意到。

可怕的自然灾害-科学家所说的大部分与气候变化有关-在疯狂的2020年似乎无处不在。但是专家们说,我们可能会回顾过去,说那是过去的美好时光,而灾难却并非如此野生。

佐治亚理工学院气候科学家金·科布(Kim Cobb)周三表示:“这将使情况更加恶化。” “我之所以强调,是因为它确实挑战了想象力。作为2020年的气候科学家,这是一件令人恐惧的事情。”

科罗拉多大学环境科学负责人,美国宇航局前首席科学家瓦里德·阿卜杜拉蒂(Waleed Abdalati)说,煤炭,石油和天然气的燃烧使灾难和气候变化恶化的轨迹很明显,而且是基本物理学。

“我坚信,我们将回顾十年,肯定是20年,肯定是50年,然后说:'哇,2020年是疯狂的一年,但我很想念它,'”阿卜达拉提说。

那是因为现在发生的事情只是10或20年前预期的疯狂气候科学家的类型。

“看来这就是十年前我们一直在谈论的东西,”北卡罗来纳州州立气候学家Kathie Dello说。

即便如此,科布说,当时的巨大规模很难让人回想。就像现在很难理解气候灾难的未来一样。

柯布说:“像2020年这样的年份可能是2000年一部精彩的科幻电影的主题,” “现在,我们必须在大流行之上,逐个灾难地观察和消化实时灾难。前景不再严峻。这真是令人恐惧的前景。”

她说:“ ​​2030年代将比2020年代明显恶化。”

密歇根大学环境学院院长,气候科学家乔纳森·奥弗佩克(Jonathan Overpeck)表示,在30年内,由于气候变化已经扩散到大气中,“我们几乎可以保证我们的气候将是现在的两倍。”

阿卜杜拉蒂说,预计会有更强的风,更多的干旱,更多的暴雨和洪水。

阿卜杜拉蒂说:“我们所看到的那种东西,对于(科学的)理解物理学的规则和定律的社区来说并不奇怪。”

德尔洛说:“很多人都想将责任归咎于2020年,但2020年并没有这样做。” “我们知道导致气候变化的行为。”

世界环境组织秘书长佩特里·塔拉斯(Petteri Taalas)说:“像引擎一样,将世界环境视为引擎:我们向系统注入了更多的能量,因为我们将更多的热量捕获到了大气中。”

Taalas说,这意味着更多的热带风暴能量以及降雨方式的变化会给某些地方带来干旱,给其他地方带来大雨。

科罗拉多大学火灾科学家詹妮弗·巴尔奇说,在加利福尼亚,那里有超过230万英亩的土地被烧毁,气候变化使植物和树木干燥,然后燃烧起来,引发了大火。Overpeck说,加利福尼亚正处于近20年的特大干旱之中,这是自欧洲人抵达以来美国首次出现这种干旱。

科学家们还在热浪和气候变化之间建立了直接联系。

Overpeck说,目前某些灾难无法与人为变暖直接联系在一起,例如derecho。但是,随着时间的流逝,放眼大局将显示出问题所在,而这一问题归结为捕获热能的基本物理原理。

“我不是危言耸听的人。我不想吓people人,”阿卜杜拉提说。“这是一个后果非常严重的问题,太重要了,不能正确解决。”

因此,即使气候可能会变得更糟,Overpeck也对子孙后代回顾2020年的狂野和危险的天气时的想法感到乐观。

Overpeck说:“我想我们会回头,看到一堆越来越疯狂的年份。” “就在今年,即2020年,我希望我们回过头说它变得疯狂到足以激励我们采取行动应对美国的气候变化。”

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美联社作家吉莉安·弗拉库斯(Gillian Flaccus)来自俄勒冈州波特兰市。

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在此处关注AP的气候覆盖范围。在Twitter上关注Seth Borenstein:@borenbears

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美联社健康与科学系得到了霍华德·休斯医学研究所科学教育系的支持。AP对所有内容全权负责。


Meanwhile, the Atlantic’s 16th and 17th named tropical storms are swirling, a record number for this time of year. Powerful Typhoon Haishen lashed Japan and the Korean Peninsula this week. Last month it hit 130 degrees in Death Valley, the hottest Earth has been in nearly a century.

Phoenix keeps setting triple-digit heat records, while Colorado went through a weather whiplash of 90-degree heat to snow this week. Siberia, famous for its icy climate, hit 100 degrees earlier this year, accompanied by wildfires. Before that Australia and the Amazon were in flames.

Amid all that, Iowa's derecho — bizarre straight-line winds that got as powerful as a major hurricane, causing billions of dollars in damages — barely went noticed.

Freak natural disasters — most with what scientists say likely have a climate change connection — seem to be everywhere in the crazy year 2020. But experts say we’ll probably look back and say those were the good old days, when disasters weren’t so wild.

“It’s going to get A LOT worse,” Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb said Wednesday. “I say that with emphasis because it does challenge the imagination. And that’s the scary thing to know as a climate scientist in 2020.”

Colorado University environmental sciences chief Waleed Abdalati, NASA’s former chief scientist, said the trajectory of worsening disasters and climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas is clear, and basic physics.

“I strongly believe we’re going to look back in 10 years, certainly 20 and definitely 50 and say, ‘Wow, 2020 was a crazy year, but I miss it,’” Abdalati said.

That’s because what's happening now is just the type of crazy climate scientists anticipated 10 or 20 years ago.

“It seems like this is what we always were talking about a decade ago,” said North Carolina State climatologist Kathie Dello.

Even so, Cobb said the sheer magnitude of what’s happening now was hard to fathom back then. Just as the future of climate disasters is hard to fathom now.

“A year like 2020 could have been the subject of a marvelous science fiction film in 2000,” Cobb said. “Now we have to watch and digest real-time disaster after disaster after disaster, on top of a pandemic. The outlook could not be any more grim. It’s just a horrifying prospect.”

“The 2030s are going to be noticeably worse than the 2020s,” she said.

University of Michigan environment dean Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist, said that in 30 years because of the climate change already baked into the atmosphere “we’re pretty much guaranteed that we’ll have double what we have now.”

Expect stronger winds, more drought, more heavy downpours and floods, Abdalati said.

“The kind of things we’re seeing are no surprise to the (scientific) community that understands the rules and the laws of physics,” Abdalati said.

“A lot of people want to blame it on 2020, but 2020 didn’t do this,” Dello said. “We know the behavior that caused climate change.”

Consider the world’s environment like an engine: “We have injected more energy into the system because we have trapped more heat into the atmosphere,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

That means more energy for tropical storms as well as changes to rainfall patterns that bring drought to some places and heavy rainfall to others, Taalas said.

In California, where more than 2.3 million acres have burned, the fires are spurred by climate change drying plants and trees that then go up in flames, said University of Colorado fire scientist Jennifer Balch. California is in the midst of a nearly 20-year mega-drought, the first of its kind in the United States since Europeans arrived, Overpeck said.

Scientists also make direct connections between heat waves and climate change.

Some disasters at the moment can’t be directly linked to man-made warming, such as the derecho, Overpeck said. But looking at the big picture over time shows the problem, and it’s one that comes down to the basic physics of trapped heat energy.

“I am not an alarmist. I don’t want to scare people,” Abdalati said. “It’s a problem with tremendous consequences and it’s too important not to get right.”

And so even though the climate will likely get worse, Overpeck is also optimistic about what future generations will think when they look back at the wild and dangerous weather of 2020.

“I think we’ll look back and we’ll see a whole bunch of increasingly crazy years,” Overpeck said. “And that this year, in 2020, I hope we look back and say it got crazy enough that it motivated us to act on climate change in the United States.”

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Associated Press writer Gillian Flaccus contributed from Portland, Oregon.

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Follow AP’s climate coverage here. Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears

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The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
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