- Scientists confirm human-induced climate change as the primary cause of extreme July heatwaves.
- World Weather Attribution study reveals that without climate change, these events would have been extremely rare.
- European, North American, and Chinese temperatures amplified by rising greenhouse gas concentrations.
- Heatwaves lead to forest fires, water shortages, and heat-related health issues globally.
- Large-scale crop damage and livestock losses reported in multiple regions.
In a groundbreaking study, scientists have established an “absolutely overwhelming” link between human-induced climate change and the devastating heatwaves experienced in North America, Europe, and China throughout July. Extreme temperatures have shattered records and caused widespread chaos, including forest fires, water shortages, and increased hospital admissions for heat-related illnesses.
World Weather Attribution, a global team of scientists, investigated the role of climate change in these extreme weather events. Their findings revealed that without human-induced climate change, such heatwaves would have been “extremely rare.” The study highlighted that European and North American temperatures would have been nearly impossible to reach without the effects of climate change, while in China, the probability of such events increased 50-fold compared to the past.
Greenhouse gas concentrations were identified as the major driving force behind the European, North American, and Chinese heatwaves, making them significantly hotter than they would have been otherwise. Rising temperatures pose a severe threat to human health and have caused widespread damage to crops and livestock, affecting U.S. corn and soybean crops, Mexican cattle, southern European olives, and Chinese cotton.
The researchers emphasized that while El Nino might have contributed to the additional heat in some regions, the primary factor remains the rise in greenhouse gas emissions. They warned that if emissions are not curtailed, heatwaves will become increasingly frequent and intense.
With average global temperatures already estimated to have risen more than 1.1C above pre-industrial levels, the scientists projected that prolonged periods of extreme heat could occur every two to five years if temperatures rise 2C. They urged immediate action to reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate the impact of climate change.
Friederike Otto, a scientist with the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, stressed that the events witnessed in July are becoming more common in today’s climate. She warned that as long as fossil fuels continue to be burned, such extreme weather events will persist.
The study’s findings stand as a powerful testament to the urgency of addressing climate change and its profound implications on global weather patterns and human well-being.