The devastation caused by heatwaves, wildfires and other natural disasters EuropeNew analysis shows that global heating would have prevented this summer from happening.
Researchers have calculated the likelihood that the climate crisis will increase the risk of high temperatures. The frequency of a European summer as warm as 2021 has been almost non-existent for the past 150 years.
As carbon emissions continue to soar, the expected frequency of these events has increased to once every three to four years since the 1990s.
This analysis serves as a stark reminder for the leaders who met at the Cop26 climate summitGlobal warming is causing severe damage to people’s lives and livelihoods in Glasgow. Scientists warn that if countries don’t reduce their carbon emissions significantly by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 then the record heat of 2021 could strike every year until the end of this century.
Despite the extraordinary increase in likelihood of record heat in recent years, Nikos Christidis at the Met Office, who led the analysis, said: “These kinds of results are no longer surprising. Climate change is already making our weather extremes more severe.”
“Extreme events are the new norm,” saidProf Petteri Talas is the UN World Meteorological Organization’s chief. A European temperature record of 48.8C has been established set in SicilyAugust “Cop26 is a make-or-break opportunity to put us back on track,” Taalas said.
The analysis used 14 climate models and scores of model runs to calculate how frequently the record summer of 2021 is expected to occur in today’s human-influenced climate, compared with a climate with no human influence.
The research covered the entire period of June to August and included all of Europe, including Russia’s Yekaterinburg.
The frequency of a hot summer without climate change in a world with large stretches of the 20th Century was more than one in 10,000 years. “This event was so rare, it was nearly impossible to calculate a probability,” Christidis said.
The same scientific approach also showed clear links between global warming and severe weather. Record-breaking heatwave in the Siberian ArcticIn January and February 2020, it was at least 600 times more probable than in February 2020. terrible floods in GermanyBelgium and the Netherlands in July were up to nine times more probable.
Prof Peter Stott, also at the Met Office, said: “We can be more confident than we have ever been about linking extreme weather events to climate change. The science is clear that the faster we reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, the more we can avoid the most severe impacts.”
“The new study is another stark reminder of just what 1.2C [of global heating to date] means,” said Friederike Otto, at Imperial College London, who conducted the Siberian study. “I really do not want to imagine the summers we’d have at 2.7C.” She said looking at large regions gives a stronger climate change signal than smaller areas.
Bob Ward, a policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: “The study shows clearly that the severe intensity of this summer’s heatwave was due to man-made climate change resulting from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.
“The cost to humans and wildlife was substantial, with heatwave conditions killing people across the continent, and the enhanced evaporation of higher temperatures turning forests into fuel for devastating wildfires.
“These extreme temperature events in Europe will continue to increase in severity and frequency for at least the next 30 years, until the world reaches net zero emissions of greenhouse gases.”
Previous studies have shown that 2017 was a hot year with deadly forest fires. Portugal and Spain was made 10 times more likelyGlobal warming. In Portugal, 64 people died.Floods have been demonstrated in previous work. England France – as far back as 2000 – were made significantly more likely by global heating.