Traffic warden Rai Rogers mans a street corner during an 8-hour shift under the hot sun in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 12, 2023, where temperatures reached 106 degrees amid an ongoing heat wave. More than 50 million Americans are bracing for dangerously high temperatures this week, from California to Texas to Florida, as a heat wave rages across the southern United States.
Frederic J. Brown | Afp | Getty Images
The heatwaves sweeping across North America and Europe this month would have been “virtually impossible” without a human climate emergency, new science says studies.
Meanwhile, an intense period of scorching heat was underway in China, bringing temperatures floating above The study found that 52 degrees Celsius (126 Fahrenheit) in mid-July – was about 50 times more likely due to global warming.
A study released Tuesday by the World Weather Attribution Group says heat waves are among the deadliest natural threats, killing thousands of people each year from heat-related causes.
Typically, however, these events have been “extremely rare,” with recent bouts of oppressive heat observed about once every 15 years in the US-Mexico region, once every 15 years in southern Europe, and once every 5 years in China.
Ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions mean these events are no longer rare, the study said.
“Totally unsurprising but an important result,” Friederike Otto, a research scientist and associate professor at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change in London, who participated in the research, said on Twitter.
“This is what climate change looks and feels like. We have to adapt, we have to stop making it worse.”
The study comes shortly after the planet registered it’s the warmest day since the beginning of this month, the third in just four days since records began. Scientists say the extreme weather sweeping across the globe reaffirms the growing urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions as quickly and deeply as possible.
United Nations World Meteorological Organization also says highlights why “we must step up our efforts to help society adapt to what is unfortunately becoming the new normal”.
The analysis by World Weather Attribution used peer-reviewed methods to identify the fingerprints of the climate crisis in major events. It has not yet gone through a formal academic review process.
Scientists from Imperial College London, the Netherlands National Meteorological Service and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, said that in all regions assessed, a heat wave with the same probability as the one seen in July would be “significantly colder” in a world without a climate emergency.
Similar to previous studies, the researchers reported that heat waves were more than 2.5 degrees Celsius warmer in southern Europe, 2 degrees Celsius warmer in North America and 1 degree Celsius warmer in China than they would have been if there had been no climate crisis.
People watch fires near the village of Malona on the Greek island of Rhodes on July 23, 2023.
Spyros Bakalis | Afp | Getty Images
“If the world does not quickly stop burning fossil fuels, these events will become even more frequent and the world will experience heat waves that are even warmer and last longer,” the study said.
“A heat wave like the recent one would occur every 2-5 years in a world that is 2°C warmer than the pre-industrial climate.”
Scientists say the recent searing heatwaves in North America, southern Europe and China underscore the urgent need for swift implementation of heat action plans. They noted that these practices are increasingly being implemented in all three regions, and evidence suggests that this may lead to a reduction in heat-related mortality.
According to scientists, the world has already warmed by about 1.1 degrees Celsius after more than a century of burning fossil fuels and the unequal and unsustainable use of energy and land.