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Landmark New Climate Report Predicts Stronger Typhoons, Flooding in Asia

A major new United Nations report on climate change was released this week, and the news isn't good.

On August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report, which synthesized the work of thousands of scientists, experts and researchers from around the world to create the most comprehensive current document on climate change.

The key takeaway, according to the report, is that "it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred."

Researchers also determined that the scale of recent changes in the global climate system are unprecedented in at least many centuries, if not many thousands of years. The authors noted that extreme heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts and tropical cyclones have noticeably increased in recent years, with scientists now more able to attribute specific weather events directly to climate change.

While the global implications of these changes vary, Nikkei Asiareports that the Asian continent is expected to face stronger monsoons and more intense flooding in the coming decades, even under the best-case scenario of greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The IPCC is confident that global temperatures will increase by 1.5 C by 2040, a decade sooner than predicted as recently as 2018. As a result, "heavy precipitation and associated flooding are projected to intensify and be more frequent in most regions in Africa and Asia."

The South and Southeast Asian monsoons are expected to strengthen, as will the East Asian summer monsoon. Droughts, meanwhile, will become more common across continental East Asia, while Southeast Asia will experience higher floods in the Mekong Delta.

For years, Vietnam has been identified as one of the most vulnerable countries to future climate change impacts, such as 2020's historic typhoon season, which caused extensive damage and loss of human life in central provinces.

[Top photo via Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.]

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