Study Claims Climate Change Is Behind Heat Wave

A new study indicates climate change has significantly contributed to the intense global heat waves this month. According to researchers, the scorching temperatures experienced in the American Southwest and Southern Europe would not have been possible without the accumulated heat from rising atmospheric gases.

The study also reveals that the surge in heat-absorbing gases, primarily produced from burning coal, oil, and natural gas, has raised the odds of another heat wave in China – this time, by a staggering 50 times. At this rate, such events could happen approximately every five years.

The study also found that a stagnant atmosphere, heated by carbon dioxide and other gases, increased the temperature of the European heat wave by 4.5 degrees, the American and Mexican by 3.6 degrees, and the Chinese by 1.8 degrees.

Climate scientists estimate that this month could be the Earth’s hottest in nearly 120,000 years, surpassing any period in human civilization. Using proxies like tree rings for temperature records, they conclude that such events would have been almost impossible without climate change.

Mariam Zachariah, the study’s lead author and a climate scientist at Imperial College of London, emphasizes the significant role of the temperature increase from the mid-1800s in these heat waves. While the occurrence in China could have happened independently of global warming, heat waves in North America and Europe would have been “virtually impossible.”

According to climate scientist Friederike Otto at Imperial College, our climate has warmed by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit since the onset of industrial-scale burning. This scale burning has made such temperature spikes more frequent and more potent.

The study indicates that areas like California, Texas, New Mexico Arizona, , Nevada, Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, and Coahuila will likely experience intense heat waves every 15 years under current climate conditions.

However, Otto warns that extreme heat events will become even more frequent as the climate warms further. This study cautions that these heat waves will become hotter and longer lasting unless fossil fuel consumption is rapidly reduced.

Phoenix has already broken records with 25 consecutive days of temperatures reaching or exceeding 110 degrees and nighttime temperatures not falling below 90 for more than a week.

The study also predicts that the heat wave affecting Italy, Greece, Spain, and some Balkan states will likely recur every decade under current climate conditions.

The study doesn’t entirely attribute the heat waves in North America and Europe to human-induced climate change but emphasizes its necessity as a contributing factor along with natural causes.

Amid the rising concerns, the study suggests implementing heat action plans and urban planning for extreme heat, which have proven to reduce heat-related mortality and urban heat island effects.