Climate Change Makes Heatwaves More Likely

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Climate change makes heatwaves twice more likely, says renowned climatologist Michael Mann and his colleagues. They have been examining data from seven weather stations in Finland, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. They chose them because their digitized records dating back a century enabled them to reach faster conclusions.

Climate Change Makes Heatwaves

climate change makes heatwaves

Fire at Kenata, Greece: European Space Agency: CC 3.0

These climatologists’ findings come at an appropriate moment, given that much of the northern hemisphere may be facing some of the worst heatwaves in history. While drawing a direct cause-and-effect conclusion is difficult, ZME Science thinks they are on the right track.

“We found that for the weather station in the far north, in the Arctic Circle, the current heatwave is just extraordinary – unprecedented in the historical record,” Geert Jan van Oldenborgh of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute told them. He is also working on the World Weather Attribution Project, which is contributing further to our understanding of how climate change makes heatwaves.

The Research Method the Climate Scientists Followed

climate change makes heatwaves

Park in Central Southampton UK: ERAGON: CC 4.0

Geert Jan van Oldenborgh and his colleagues first attributed extreme weather events at individual data sites. Then they remodeled the events without the influence of human emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide.

This indicated the extent to which climate change could influence extreme weather events in future. “In many parts of Europe three day heat is not very exceptional and you could argue that it would be better to look at longer,” comments Dr. Friederike Otto from the University of Oxford, one of the study’s authors. “But we’ve looked at longer periods and it doesn’t change the result very much.”

We agree with the conclusion ZME Science reaches, in terms of the evidence that climate change makes heatwaves. “We are now in the phase that the effects of climate change are way beyond deniability,” they say. “It’s time to start acting and tackling this problem or suffer the consequences.” Chilling words indeed.


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About Author


I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned. Richard Farrell

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