Record-smashing heat extremes may become much more likely with climate change – study says

Turkey. Canada. Northern lreland. Antarctica. AII recorded their hottest-ever temperatures in the last two years, and according to a new study, more such extremes are coming In the next three decades, “record-shattering” heat waves could become two to seven times more frequent in the world than in the last 30 years, scientists report in a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Beyond 2050, if current greenhouse gas emissions trends continue, such record-breaking heat waves could be three to 21 times more frequent, the study found.

Even with the records seen in 2021, “we havent
seen anything close to the most intense heat
waves possible under today’s climate, let alone
the ones we expect to see in the coming decades” said co-author Erich Fischer, a climate
scientist at ETH Zurich. For the study, the researchers used climate modeling to calculate the likelihood of record- breaking heat that lasted at least seven days and far surpassed earlier records.

Communities preparing for climate change need to be preparing for such extremes, he said. “Every time record temperatures or precipitation go well beyond what we’ve experienced during our lifetime, that’s usually when we’re unprepared and the damage is largest’ Fischer said.

Last month’s Canadian heat wave killed
hundreds of people and reached 121 Fahrenheit
(49.6 Celsius) – an eye-popping 8 degrees
Fahrenheit (4.6 degrees Celsius) above the
country’s previous record, set in 1937.

“We should no longer be surprised if we see
records smashed by large margins,” Fischer said. If greenhouse gas emissions are aggressively cut, the likelihood of heat waves would remain high but the chances of exceeding records would eventually fall over time, the study suggests.

The new research shows that “we must expect extreme event records to be broken not just by small margins, but quite often by very large ones,” climate scientist Rowan Sutton at the University of Reading’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science said in a statement.

“This highlights the huge challenge to improve
preparedness, build resilience and adapt society to conditions that have never previously been experienced, Sutton said. The study was released as scientists with the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
begin two weeks of virtual meetings to
finalize their next global climate science
assessment.

2 comments

  • Even if the world became climate-neutral overnight, we will feel the effects of climate change forever. I think these are irreversible processes. We will have to try to adapt our material life as soon as possible.

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  • I believe it, life 🧬 and death are a part of the natural order but when. You don’t care about the 🌎. It only hurts everyone else. Such as our kids and grandkids. But that’s why we are in this mess cause of people who have more to loose today then in the next 100 years. If humanity lasts that long

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