by Cinthia Leone (Climainfo)
THE climate change caused by human activities, particularly fossil fuel extraction July 2022 UK heatwave at least 10 times more likely. So says the rapid attribution analysis performed by an international team of climate scientists within the World Weather Attribution Network.
The scientists caution that this is a conservative estimate, as extreme temperatures in western Europe have exceeded predictions from climate model simulations.
Climate change has increased the risk of a heatwave in the UK (Photo: Getty Images)
in the On 15 July 2022, the UK’s national weather service, the Met Office, issued an extreme heat warning for the first time.. In the days that followed, many weather stations across the country recorded their highestever temperatures, in many cases breaking previous records by 3°C and 4°C July 19, Coningsbyin Lincolnshire, founded a National record high: 40.3°C1.6°C warmer than the previous record and 3.6°C warmer than the record held until 1990.
“In Europe and other parts of the world We are seeing more and more recordbreaking heatwaves causing extreme temperatures that have gotten hotter faster than most climate models suggest. It’s a worrying finding that suggests that the consequences of climate change for extreme heat in Europe, which is already extremely deadly, could be even worse than we previously thought if CO2 emissions are not reduced quickly.” Grantham Institute Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London, and one of the authors of the attribution study,
Although the exact number of victims of extreme heat in Britain has not yet been counted, Estimates point to hundreds of heatrelated deaths.
More intense and frequent hot flashes
Around the world, climate change has made heat waves more frequent, longer, and hotter. To quantify the impact of climate change specifically on high temperatures in the UK, scientists analyzed weather data and computer simulations and compared today’s climate to past climates after nearly 1.2°C of global warming since the late 19th century, according to Peer Review methods.
Roop Singh, one of the authors of the study and a researcher at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, warns:
“Heat waves are the deadliest type of extreme weather event in Europe, killing thousands every year. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Many of these deaths are preventable if proper adaptation plans are in place.” Without rapid and widespread adaptation and emission reductions, the situation will only get worse.”
The analysis focused on twoday high temperatures in the hardesthit region of the UK, an area around central England and east Wales. THE Research has found that the frequency and magnitude of such events have increased due to humancaused climate change.
Still, determining the exact contribution of climate change proved difficult, as extreme heat in western Europe increased more than climate models estimated. While Models estimate that greenhouse gas emissions increased temperatures by 2°C during this heatwave, historical climate records show that in a world not warmed by human activity, the heatwave would have been 4°C cooler.
Fraser Lott, a researcher at the Climate Monitoring and Attribution Scientist at the Met Office Hadley Center and also one of the authors of the attribution study correlating humancaused climate change and extreme heat in July 2022 in the UK, comments:
“Two years ago Met Office scientists confirmed that the chance of seeing 40°C in the UK was 1 in 100 in any given year compared to 1 in 1000 in the natural climate. It was sad to see such an event happen so soon after. Study, see the raw data reported by our weather stations. This new work confirms the previous study and also points us to further adjustments. The latest developments that made it possible to predict the heatwave two weeks in advance are now driving the next generation of climate simulations.”
According to the authors, this suggests that the models underestimate the real impact of humancaused climate change on high temperatures in the UK and elsewhere in western Europe. That also means that the Analysis results are conservative and climate change has likely increased the frequency of this event by more than the 10fold estimated by the study.
You Model results show that a heatwave this intense is still rare in today’s climate, even after climate change has made it more likely. with a 1% chance each year, according to a previous study conducted by the UK Met Office. But weather records again suggest that this could be an underestimate, as similar heatwaves are now more likely to occur than climate models suggest.
The study was conducted by 21 researchers, including scientists from universities and meteorological agencies in Denmark, France, Germany,
Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States and New Zealand.