Some parts of Europe are experiencing a scorching summer. Already, heat records have broken in western Europe by June. Now, a heatwave called Lucifer, is causing severe heatwave conditions in parts of southern and eastern Europe.
Many countries are dealing with the extreme heat’s effects, including wildfires and water restrictions. Temperatures rose to 40 degrees in some parts of Italy, Greece, and the Balkans. The extreme heat has spread north to the Czech Republic, and south into southern Poland.
Some regions are experiencing the hottest temperatures since 2007, when extreme heat brought dangerous conditions to the southeast.
Heat is associate with a high-pressure system over southeast Europe. The jet stream guides weather systems in Britain and northern Europe. This split weather pattern was present in Europe for several weeks in 2007. It brought heavy rains to England and flooding. Then came the scorching heat from Greece and the Balkans.
Europe is an area that has been extensively studied for heatwaves. This is due to two reasons: First, Europe has a lot of weather observations that allow us to assess our climate. Models and quantify climate change’s effects with high confidence. The second reason is that many of Europe’s leading climate science groups are fund. To increase understanding of the effects of climate change on Europe.
The record-breaking 2003 European summer was the first to examine how climate change could be link to an extreme weather event. Multiple studies have done since then to assess the impact of human influence on European extreme weather. We expect this region to experience hotter summers, more intense heatwaves, and frequenter and more intense heatwaves.
We know from other sources that climate change caused an increase in deaths during the 2003 heatwaves, and that future climate change-related deaths will likely rise.
This Heatwave Is Cause By Climate Change
To understand the role climate change played in the recent European heatwave, I examined changes in the hottest summer day over southeast Europe, which includes Italy, Greece, and the Balkans.
In a series of climate simulations, I calculated the frequency and duration of very hot summer days under four scenarios. These were: A natural world without human influence, a world with about 1 degree of global warming, a 1.5 world that is warming at 1.5 degrees, and a world that is warming at 2 degrees. Because they correspond to the Paris Agreement targets, I chose the 1.5- and 2 benchmarks.
We don’t know how hotter than normal this heatwave will be as it is still ongoing. Multiple thresholds were used to account for the uncertainty. They are based on very hot summer days in the past. These thresholds represent a historical 1-in-10-year hot day, 1-in-20-year hottest days, and a new record in the region that exceeds the 2007 value.
We don’t know where 2017 will lead, but we know it will surpass the threshold of 1 in 10 years and may even exceed it.
Clear Human Fingerprint Europe
No matter what threshold I used to determine the possibility of very hot summer days, climate change greatly increased their likelihood. Climate change has caused an increase in the likelihood of extremely hot summer days like this one by at least fourfold.
My analysis shows that extreme heat like the one we are seeing in southeast Europe. Under natural conditions would be uncommon. Heatwaves such as this are not unusual in the world today and future, according to the Paris Agreement thresholds.
Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees rather than 2 is also beneficial as it reduces. The frequency of extreme heat events.
We know that Europe can expect more heatwaves similar to this one as this event ends. However, we can prevent extreme heat becoming the new norm by keeping. Global warming below or at the level agreed to in Paris.