Jun 25, 2019

This week's heat wave in Europe is a preview of what the climate crisis has in store

by
Jordan Evans and Brandon Miller
,
CNN
The absolute national historic heat record in France (44.1 ° C, August 12, 2003) could be beaten by Friday, especially in the lower Rhône Valley where several models suggest Tmax> 44 ° C (here the ICON model), consistent with T ° at 850hPa of 27-28 ° C. Credit: Etienne Kapikian, Twitter
The absolute national historic heat record in France (44.1 ° C, August 12, 2003) could be beaten by Friday, especially in the lower Rhône Valley where several models suggest Tmax> 44 ° C (here the ICON model), consistent with T ° at 850hPa of 27-28 ° C. Credit: Etienne Kapikian, Twitter

Europe is only three days into summer, and Mother Nature is quickly cranking up the heat...With summer 2018's devastating heat wave and droughts still fresh in the minds of Europeans, many are wondering whether this season will feature more of the same.

Thanks to climate change, these types of heat waves are happening more frequently.

"Heat waves are on the rise," Stefan Rahmstorf, co-chairman of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and professor at Potsdam University in Germany, said in a statement.

Rahmstorf related recent heat waves to climate change by comparing them with 500 years of records.

"The hottest summers in Europe since the year 1500 AD all occurred since the last turn of the century: 2018, 2010, 2003, 2016, 2002," Rahmstorf said.

Global heat records are being set five times as often today as they would in a stable climate, and according to Rahmstorf, what we are seeing is exactly what was predicted by climate scientists as a result of rising global temperatures caused by increases in greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and gas.

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High pressure will also park itself over the region this week, resulting in a dome of sinking air and warming temperatures over Europe.

Heat waves are some of the most direct manifestations of climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Europe is certainly not the only place feeling the heat.

Deadly heat waves are going to be a much bigger problem in the coming decades, becoming more frequent and occurring over a much greater portion of the planet because of climate change, according to a study published two summers ago in the journal Nature Climate Change.