A new report finds that heatwaves in the US and Europe are ‘almost impossible’ without climate change


Extreme heat waves This month on three continents As temperatures continue to burn in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, a new analysis published on Tuesday makes the climate crisis significantly more likely to be caused by humans.

The “Hot Hell” Warming of parts of the United States and southern Europe would be “almost impossible” without climate change, while climate change has made China’s heat wave at least 50 times more likely, according to a rapid attribution analysis by the World Weather Attribution Initiative.

WWA, an international group of scientists that assesses the role of climate change in extreme weather events, spent a week studying the deadly heat waves that swept the Northern Hemisphere in July. Destroys crops and livestock, Fuels wildfiresincreases Water pressure And Kills people Across three continents.

03:24 – Source: CNN

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Temperatures in Death Valley reached 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53.3 Celsius) this month, and the city of Phoenix A record of 25 consecutive days Temperatures may exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius).

China posted All-time national high temperature 52.2 degrees Celsius (126 Fahrenheit) earlier this month. In Europe, local records were broken in parts of Spain and Italy as temperatures hit European all-time highs. 48.8 degrees Celsius was recorded (119.8 Fahrenheit).

To understand the extent to which the climate crisis has affected the likelihood and severity of this July’s extreme heat, the WWA team analyzed weather data and computer models to compare the world’s current climate — which is 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times — with past climates.

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“They found that the role of climate change is absolutely huge,” said Friedrich Otto, senior lecturer in climate science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London.

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People take shelter from the sun as they cross a road during a heat wave in Beijing on July 7, 2023.

If humans weren’t warming the planet by burning oil, coal and gas, these types of blistering heat waves would be much rarer, Otto told reporters on Monday. But as the world continues to burn fossil fuels, they are no longer unusual, he said.

In today’s climate, extreme heat waves like the ones the world is currently experiencing are expected to occur once every 15 years in the US and Mexico, once every 10 years in southern Europe, and once every five years in China.

Scientists have found that climate change is not only drastically increasing the likelihood of these heat waves occurring, but also making them hotter.

Planetary heat pollution made Europe’s heat wave 2.5°C warmer, the North American heat wave 2°C warmer, and China’s heat wave 1°C warmer, the report said.

Lefty Damian/Anatolu Agency/Getty Images

Fire crews tackle a wildfire on the Greek island of Rhodes, July 22, 2023, as Greece grapples with a severe heat wave.

Worse could be in store. If the mean of the planet With temperatures rising up to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, extreme heat waves can be expected every two to five years, the report said.

“If we don’t stop burning fossil fuels quickly, it’s going to be cool summers in the future,” Otto said.

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The scientists said A growing El NiñoA warming-influenced natural climate system has helped raise temperatures a bit—but that’s global warming The main reason why heat waves are so severe is the burning of fossil fuels.

“The results of this attribution study are not surprising. The world has not stopped burning fossil fuels, the climate continues to warm and heat waves are becoming more intense. It’s that simple,” Otto said in a statement.

But this study should not be interpreted as evidence of “runaway warming” or “climate collapse.”

“We still have time to secure a safe and healthy future, but we must urgently stop burning fossil fuels and invest in reducing harm. If we don’t, tens of thousands of people will die from heat-related causes every year.

Heat waves are one of the most dangerous natural hazards. More than 61,000 died According to a recent study, heat-related deaths during last year’s extreme heat wave in Europe.

In Mexico, More than 100 people Heat-related deaths have been reported since March, while countries from the US to Italy have reported Steep jumps in hospital admissions As people Struggle to cope With rising temperature.

The report’s authors said society must quickly reduce planet-warming pollution. But so are they It calls on countries and cities to overhaul health, urban planning and energy systems, as well as accelerate heat action plans to better prepare for extreme heat already locked in by the climate crisis.

Richard Allen, professor of climate science at the University of Reading in England, who was not involved in the study, said fluctuating weather conditions determine the location and timing of these heat waves.

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“But climate warming encourages moderate heat waves to rise to the top of the league, and league top heat waves would have been impossible events in a climate without the warming effects of fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions.”

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