'Reality is outpacing our models' Oxford professor issues stark climate change warning

FLOODS, wildfires, hurricanes and intense heatwaves are examples of unprecedented weather in 2021 which has “shattered” records.

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Research suggests more heatwaves and a rise in rainfall will occur as carbon dioxide concentration increases in the atmosphere. To understand this better, models were created to predict climate change – but recent events in British Columbia, Germany and Belgium are “more intense than the models”.

Timothy Palmer is the Royal Society Research Professor of Climate Physics at the University of Oxford.

He is currently pushing for a new generation of models to increase the accuracy of understanding current events and predicting future events.

“The problem is that the warming is so intense, it’s actually outside the range of the model,” Prof Palmer told Express.co.uk.

“It’s not that the records have been broken – the records have been completely shattered by these recent events.

READ MORE: Climate crisis: Arctic’s melting ice amplifies global warming

Forest fires

At least 85 wildfires raged across 13 US states – roughly 1.5 million acres – last week (Image: Getty)

Floods

At least 177 were killed in the devastating floods which swept through Germany and Belgium (Image: Getty)

“Reality is somehow outpacing our ability to simulate reality.”

In the UK, 2020 was the third warmest on record, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest, according to the most recent UK State of the Climate report.

This is unprecedented weather as no other year has been in the top ten in all three categories.

In Turkey, the heat intensity of wildfires last Thursday which killed four people was reported to be four times higher than ever recorded in the country.

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Floods

In the UK, 2020 was the third warmest on record, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest (Image: Getty)

At least 85 wildfires raged across 13 US states – roughly 1.5 million acres – last week. Now more than 90 percent of the West of the US is officially in a drought.

At least 177 were killed in the devastating floods which swept through Germany and Belgium. Dozens are still missing.

To battle the “new normal” climate and natural disasters, Prof Palmer says countries will have to adapt and develop their infrastructure.

“We need to develop infrastructure so we become resilient to this new type of climate – the new normal- if you like,” he said.

Floods

Now more than 90 percent of the West of the US is officially in a drought (Image: Getty)

“Each country has got to do that. In some countries, there could be increased severity of drought, so for example, in California.

“Other places, like we’ve seen in Germany, will experience flooding. And some countries will experience big sea level rise.”

Mr Palmer and his colleagues are urging countries to pool their resources in order to build climate models which can be applied to the current changing world.

“We need the countries of the world to get together and pool their resources to build climate models and use supercomputers.

“We need to kind of step up a gear with the science of climate change to really understand better how these exceptional extremes are occurring.

“So it’s basically proposing a new International Centre rather than the moment where climate models are developed by individual institutes and university groups and so on.

“And they don’t tend to have that much resource individually. So if we pull resources, we can do a lot better in my view.”

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