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Extreme Summer Heat in the U.S. And Europe ‘Virtually Impossible’ Without Climate Change

The heat waves stretching across North America and Europe this month would have been “virtually impossible” without the human-induced climate emergency, according to a new scientific study.

In China, meanwhile, an intense period of scorching heat — that saw temperatures soaring above 52 degrees Celsius (126 Fahrenheit) in mid-July — was roughly 50 times more likely as a result of global warming, the study found.

Published Tuesday by the World Weather Attribution group, the study said heat waves are among the deadliest natural hazards with thousands of people dying from heat-related causes each year.

Typically, however, these events had been “extremely rare,” with the recent bouts of oppressive heat seen about once every 15 years in the U.S. and Mexico region, once every 15 years in southern Europe, and once every five years in China.

Ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions mean these events are not rare anymore, the study said.

“Totally unsurprising but important result,” Friederike Otto, a scientist and senior lecturer at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change in London, who contributed to the research, said via Twitter.

“This is what climate change looks & feels. We need to adapt, we need to stop making it worse.”

The study comes shortly after the planet registered its hottest day since records began for the third time in just four days earlier this month. Scientists say the extreme weather sweeping across the globe reaffirms the increasing urgency of cutting greenhouse gas emissions as quickly and deeply as possible.

The U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization also says it underpins why “we have to step up efforts to help society adapt to what is, unfortunately, becoming the new normal.”

Prepare for ‘even hotter and longer-lasting’ heat waves

The analysis by World Weather Attribution used peer-reviewed methods to identify the fingerprint of the climate crisis in major events. It has not yet undergone a formal academic review process.

The researchers, from Imperial College London, the Dutch national weather service and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, said that in all assessed regions, a heat wave of the same likelihood as the one observed through July would have been “significantly cooler” in a world without the climate emergency.

Similar to previous studies, the scientists said that the heat waves were over 2.5 degrees Celsius warmer in southern Europe, 2 degrees Celsius warmer in North America and 1 degrees Celsius warmer in China than they would have been if it were not for the climate crisis.

“Unless the world rapidly stops burning fossil fuels, these events will become even more common and the world will experience heatwaves that are even hotter and longer-lasting,” the study said.

“A heatwave like the recent ones would occur every 2-5 years in a world that is 2°C warmer than the preindustrial climate.”

Researchers said the recent searing heat seen in North America, southern Europe and China underscores the urgent need for an accelerated rollout of heat action plans. They noted that these are increasingly being implemented across all three regions and the evidence suggests this may be leading to reduced heat-related mortality.

The world has already warmed by around 1.1 degrees Celsius, scientists say, after over a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use.

Surce : CNBC