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COUNTDOWN

CO2 Budget Depletion

17 Apr 2023 | Thailand

Thailand breaks 45.5°C in mid-April.

April and May are usually Thailand’s hottest months of the year. Halfway through April, this year is proving to be no exception. On April 15, the Asian country set a new national record of 45.5°C (114°F), surpassing the 44.6°C set at the end of the month in 2016. At 15°N, Thailand is one of a dozen Asian countries currently experiencing their worst spring heatwave in which real-feel temperatures are pushing the limits of human survivability.

Beyond human health, however, this heatwave has implications for all sectors of the regional and global economy with tendrils extending into education, agriculture and food security, heat stress and productivity, and energy use.

After the devastating heatwaves across India and Pakistan last summer, the World Weather Attribution group cited the heatwaves as “a glimpse of the region’s future”. A year later, and this future is solid. Why? Despite global commitments to the contrary, 2022 marked another year of record greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere. These gases insulate the earth and trap solar radiation, leading to global heating. In the Arctic, this effect is amplified by the melting of sea ice, which exposes dark [ocean] surfaces that absorb more radiation. This is at the core of one of the feedback loops driving planetary warming.

Last month saw the second-lowest polar sea ice extent and was also the world’s 2nd warmest month on record (NOAA). March was the 529th straight month with higher-than-normal temperatures (Copernicus), meaning that anyone younger than 44 has never lived in a month below the long-term average.

Meteorological offices throughout the world, in the United States, UK, Australia and Japan, have all indicated the likelihood of an El Niño event this year. El Niño patterns are associated with warmer periods, which could further shatter records and give a pronounced glimpse into the planet’s future. Thailand’s 2016 high temperature record was set during an El Niño period, and 2016 remains the Earth’s warmest year to date.

Are you curious about the global threats, like heat stress, coming from Arctic warming? Find out more – GLOBAL RISKS

Image: © Vyacheslav Argenberg / http://www.vascoplanet.com/, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

LATEST NEWS & ALERTS

ARCTIC RISK INDICATORS

The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.

Greenland rate of ice loss
13 million l/s
on average
13 million tonnes/s
on average
Arctic Sea Ice Extent
475,999 km²
below 1981-2010 average on 20-Apr-2024
183,783 mi²
below 1981-2010 average on 20-Apr-2024
Arctic Amplification
4 times
faster than global average
Arctic 66N+ Wildfire emissions
0.00 megatonnes CO₂e
CO₂e emissions in 2024 so far
Arctic Air Quality (PM2.5)
2.94 microgram per cubic meter
on 21-Apr-2024
Global mean Sea Level
3.4mm/year
since 1993