Extreme heat waves would not have hit large areas of the world simultaneously in 2018 unless the climate was changing according to researchers.
A recent study of last year’s unusual heat was recently published, at the same time as heat waves are about to hit land on the northern part of the globe.
In Europe, heat records are probably to be beaten this week. North of Spain, the temperature could pass 42 degrees, and meteorologists in Germany are warning of hot air currents from the Sahara.
Regardless of how the development continues in the summer, it will be hard-pressed to exceed the situation last year. Then a wave of heat rolled into the northern hemisphere during the spring and summer.
In Norway, the old temperature record for May was almost crushed to stick wheat. A large number of local and regional records were beaten in July, and Norwegian farmers were hit hard by drought.
Over a hundred lost their lives
Also, a number of places in Sweden, Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Algeria, Oman, Russia, Georgia, Armenia and South Korea had new heat records in 2018.
In Japan, the national maximum record was beaten, and over a hundred Japanese people died.
Several researchers linked the situation to global warming.
“Serious climate change unfolds before our eyes” said Professor Rowan Sutton to The Guardian newspaper.
Rasmus Benestad at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute told NTB news that the many Norwegian records would have been likely in a stable climate.
Didn’t happen before 2010
The new research study confirms the connection that Sutton, Benestad, and other scientists pointed out last year.
It is almost certain that the coincidental heat waves would not have taken place without human-made climate changes the researchers in the study wrote in the journal Earth’s Future.
The conclusion is based on calculations done with large data models that simulate the evolution of the Earth’s climate.
Exceptional heat hit an average of 22% of the populated or cultivated area north of the 30th latitude from May to July last year.
Such incidents never occurred before 2010 the researchers pointed out. But if the temperature of the earth continues to rise, heat waves à la 2018 could become quite common.
They will on average arise every year if the earth becomes 1 degree warmer than today, the researchers’ calculations show.
Heat increases emissions
As climate change has become more noticeable, measures to combat the problem have become an important political issue in many countries. Nevertheless, global emissions continue to rise.
Last year, CO2 emissions from fossil energy increased by 2 per cent according to the oil company BP. The increase this one year corresponded to emissions from 400 million cars.
One of the reasons is probably the high temperatures last summer. The heat made many people use air conditioning – which created a great need for electricity, which in many countries is produced with coal or natural gas.
However, unusually cold days may have contributed to the increase in emissions. While the average temperature of the earth is rising, in recent years there have been a number of shorter periods of abnormally cold weather.
During these periods, consumption of electricity, gas and oil increases for heating.
BP believes the CO2 emissions last year were affected by a high number of days that were either unusually hot or unusually cold according to The Guardian newspaper.
This may turn out to be a vicious circle according to the company’s chief economist, Spencer Dale. Rising greenhouse gas emissions could lead to more extreme weather fluctuations, which in turn increases energy consumption and emissions.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today