The Hellish, Hot Heatwave in 2017 Is the Effect of Climate Change

The hot heatwave in 2017 has severely impacted the whole planet, especially Europe. The hell-like temperatures registered across the Mediterranean nations this summer occurred due to climate change. Scientists indicate that the effect of this heatwave was extremely dangerous. If state officials do not try to develop plans to tackle climate change, these hellish heatwaves will be even more frequent.

By 2015, they may become normal, reaching temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius. The new study developed by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) group indicates a detailed analysis regarding ‘Lucifer’ heatwave that struck Italy, south-east France, and Croatia this August. Scientists revealed that the heatwave became four times more likely due to human-related climate change.

This hot wave in 2017 triggered a massive rise in temperatures. For three days and three nights, the temperatures did not drop 30 degrees Celsius. The consequences appeared right away when specialists registered a 15% surge related to emergency hospital admissions in Italy. Living in very hot weather conditions for too long may cause serious health problems.

Back in 2003, when another heatwave had hit Europe, this was later related to approximately 75,000 deaths. Friederike Otto at the University of Oxford, UK, is part of the WWA. He indicates that lately, heatwaves are more intense than those experienced in the 1950s. If policymakers do not engage in providing some quick solutions for reducing greenhouse gases, the heat experienced by Europeans this summer will soon become the rule.

Global warming amplified extreme weather events

This new heatwave clearly indicates the massive effect climate change has on our planet, altering weather conditions. Extreme weather can clearly affect people state of health. However, specialists indicate that we cannot blame climate change to cause extreme heatwaves. But, we can certainly see that global warming played a significant role here, influencing the rise of temperatures. Otherwise, many random extreme weather events occur naturally.

Scientists compared historical data with these extremes and other computer models of a climate unmodified by climate change. Therefore, they were able to establish the fact that climate change is significantly increasing the chances of dangerous weather events. Back in June, the World Weather Attribution indicates that the hellish heatwave that triggered numerous wildfires in Spain and Portugal became 10 times more likely because of climate change.

Unfortunately, due to the Lucifer heatwave, 64 people died. Previous studies indicated that floods in France in England, even those dating back to 2000, became more likely to occur due to global warming. Scientists in Australia showed that the greenhouse gas emissions determined the bleaching of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef to be 175 times more likely to occur.

Furthermore, the new study also proved that the latest hot winter was again 60 times more likely because of climate change. Currently, the WWA is working on developing an analysis about hurricanes and how global warming may influence their occurrence. They are studying Hurricane Harvey at the moment. It is clear for researchers that climate change is likely to have influenced the terrible storms which have destroyed the US and the Caribbean. Furthermore, these storms can become even more destructive in the future if climate change effects continue to become more aggressive.

A woman in a red dress washing her face

Global warming influenced extreme heatwaves to become even more dangerous.

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Heatwaves are prone to become the norm

If temperatures increase, even more, then greater heat triggers tremendous rainfall and more storm energy. On the other hand, raising sea levels indicates that storm surge will continue to reach inland. The latest study examined the heatwave across the Balkans, Italy, southern France and Spain. Scientists developed a comparison between four distinct types of climate models and the recent temperatures.

The climate models did not include the heating effect triggered by the last century of carbon emissions. Therefore, the outrageously high heat level registered in June, July and August was 10 times more likely compared to the models from the early 1900s. Researchers decided to use the same method to analyze the hot heatwave in 2017 also known as the Lucifer heatwave.

Experts analyzed its peak that lasted for three days and three nights in early August. They have found out that the intensity of heatwaves has alarmingly increased by 1 degree Celsius to 2 degrees Celsius since 1950. Furthermore, the overall effect of climate change appears to have quadrupled the chances for these heatwaves to happen.

Back in June, the UK government has failed to offer updates regarding building regulations for schools, hospitals, and homes. Therefore, this could trigger an even bigger increase in the number of heatwave deaths by 2040. Robert Vautard is a researcher at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in France. He states that cities need to work with public health experts and researchers to set up some heat action plans. Vautard also claims that this type of heatwaves will become the norm by the middle of this century.

The heatwave in 2003

Back in 2003, scientists made clear how important it is to understand the health risks related to heatwaves. Back then, one of the hottest European heatwaves killed over 70,000 people. The summer of 2003 remained the hottest one on record for the entire continent. Nevertheless, the summer of 2017 appeared to have been even more extreme in the Mediterranean region.

A study from 2004 indicated that the accumulation of greenhouse gases due to burning fossil fuel triggered the extreme temperatures of 2003. They were at least twice as likely as they would have been if human-made climate change would have never existed. After that dangerous heatwave in 2003, the global average temperature raised by a quarter degree Celsius. According to the European Environment Agency, the summers in Southern Europe started to warm at twice that rate.

Summing up

Global warming is responsible for amplifying the extreme increase in temperatures and the hot heatwave in 2017 and 2003. Since policymakers do not seem to work on a solution to diminish greenhouse gas emissions, these dangerous heatwaves may soon become the norm. State officials should develop stricter regulations regarding the emissions of greenhouse gases that boost the dangerous effects of climate change. Otherwise, every summer will feel like hell.

Image Source: Sky News

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William E. Eubanks
 

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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