I.2. MORE FREQUENT AND INTENSE HEAT WAVES AS CONSEQUENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

With years of scientific research and better mass media coverage the skepticism about the reality of climate change starts to fade (Poortinga et al 2011). The reports of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which are used as the main source of data for this chapter, are the result of a consensus of a large number (around 2000) of international experts.

The fifth assessment report by IPCC brings even more certitude in the predominantly anthropogenic nature of climate change. Yet, the magnitude and speed of the change remain rather uncertain, and so the scientists make sets of climate scenarios for the coming century in order to at least define the possible gamut of temperature change.

Climate change today is the reality and its consequences will definitely manifest themselves during the 21 century. The natural greenhouse effect mechanism, combined with anthropogenic inputs (concentration of greenhouse gas emissions increased by human activities) is the predominant cause of global warming. Indeed, because of imbalance between the radiation flux from the sun reaching the Earth and the flow of infrared radiation back to space, the average global temperature result is modified – the Earth is warmed up.

The main manifestations of climate change are mean temperature increase, increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme events, sea level rise (erosion and coastal floods), increased snowmelt in glaciers, changes in precipitation patterns. Due to the inertia of the climate system, these phenomena are cumulative and irreversible (IPCC 2013)

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