Alarming Study Shows Europe Is Heating Up Faster Than Scientists Predicted

The dangerous heatwave that struck Europe this summer demonstrated perfectly that the continent is getting hotter, but a study not only confirmed it, it alarmingly showed that it’s heating up faster than scientists had predicted.

This past July was the hottest month ever recorded on our planet. And during that month, a heatwave swept across Europe and broke longstanding temperature records, including a record high in France that had stood for decades.

It’s not a fluke or freak heatwave either, but rather a trend that scientists predicted would come because of climate change. Only they thought the higher temperatures would still be many years away instead of right now.

That’s what a new study conducted by a team of scientists sought to find out, and the results are disturbing.

“Even at this regional scale over Europe, we can see that these trends are much larger than what we would expect from natural variability. That’s really a signal from climate change,” Swiss Federal Institute of Technology climate scientist and lead study author Ruth Lorenz said.

According to the American Geophysical Union:

They found the number of extreme heat days in Europe has tripled since 1950, while the number of extreme cold days decreased by factors of two or three depending on the region. Extremely hot days have become hotter by an average of 2.30 degrees Celsius (4.14 degrees Fahrenheit), while extremely cold days have warmed by 3.0 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on average. The hottest days and coldest nights warmed significantly more than their corresponding summer and winter mean temperatures.

“In the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the model trends are about two times lower than the observed trends,” climate analyst Geert Jan van Oldenborgh says. “We’re reaching new records faster than you’d expect.”

That’s not good, because if Europe is heating up faster, the world is heating up faster as well.

Global temperatures are threatening to surpass a red line that would result in uncontrollable climate change. The world has been working to reverse the warming trend, but have been unsuccessful as anti-environment leaders such as President Donald Trump in the United States and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil sabotage those efforts with pro-pollution and pro-deforestation policies.

Now that the United States is set to pump billions of tons more carbon and methane into the atmosphere and the Amazon rainforest is on fire to clear it for cattle pasture, we are going to see temperature rise accelerate and get worse.

Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre director Maarten van Aalst warns that these heatwaves are going to kill humans.

“Heatwaves are a silent killer; while for many people a heatwave just means a few hot days in the office or even a nice day at the beach, heat is literally life-threatening to vulnerable groups like the elderly and chronically ill,” he said. “Contrary to, for instance, storms and floods, these casualties usually do not even make the news. We only see them later in the statistics… no death certificate says ‘heatwave’ as the cause of death, even if the heat is actually a key factor in mortality.”

And it will be particularly deadly because many people don’t have air conditioning because they’ve never really needed it before.

“Lots of people don’t have air conditioning for instance and it makes this really important,” Lorenz said. “We expected results based on modeling studies but it’s the first time we see it in what we’ve observed so far.”

And so, the message is clear. The world must unite now to tackle this problem or we will all fry.

Featured Image: Copernicus Sentinel data

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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