Human-triggered climate change is “affecting every inhabited region across the globe” and causing weather extremes – such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts and tropical cyclones – to become more frequent, the first comprehensive UN climate report in seven years warned on Monday.
“It is virtually certain that hot extremes (including heatwaves) have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions since the 1950s, while cold extremes (including cold waves) have become less frequent and less severe,” said the report issued by the the Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The climate scientists who drafted the assessment, which will be delivered in four parts through 2022, wrote that extreme precipitation events have occurred with more frequency and intensity over most land area since 1950.
Furthermore, “it is likely that the global proportion of major (Category 3-5) tropical cyclone occurrence has increased over the last four decades, and the latitude where tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific reach their peak intensity has shifted northward.”
The IPCC report released on Monday was the culmination of years of work and tackles the physical science behind climate change, synthesizing studies on past warming and future projections for policymakers.
Monday’s publication is the first of four parts to the Sixth Assessment Report, which will be delivered this year and next.