Extreme Temperature Diary- Tuesday July 25th, 2023/Main Topic: Attributing European Heatwave Cerberus to Carbon Pollution

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Attributing European Heatwave Cerberus to Carbon Pollution

Dear Diary. As we all hope, science, and particularly climate science, is getting better with each passing year. So, it comes as no surprise as to how quickly researchers were to attribute the severity of European Heatwave Cerberus to climate change induced by carbon pollution. I will stress here that studies point the finger to making heat episodes worse, not creating them in the first place since humanity has always experienced heatwaves.

The extent of record heat in association with this beast was astounding:

As a reminder, here is one peak of the heat dome in association with Cerberus that I presented on July 16th from:

Extreme Temperature Diary- Sunday July 16th, 2023/Main Topic: European Heatwave Cerberus Pegged to Become a Catastrophic CAT5 This Week – Guy On Climate

Anytime a heat dome gets to or above 600 decameters over land, extreme heat can be expected with many all-time records falling. Indeed, we saw this happen across Italy when Rome soared to 110°F.

For more details on attributing Heatwave Cerberus, here is an article written by my good friend Brian McHugh:

Current European heatwave virtually impossible without human-induced carbon pollution (yorkshirebylines.co.uk)

Current European heatwave virtually impossible without human-induced carbon pollution

Greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation have made the July heatwaves much hotter than is natural

Brian McHugh by Brian McHugh

 25-07-2023 06:29

Fire burning in the mountains. Photo by Mike Newbry on Unsplash

A report has been released today by the World Weather Attribution group, an international collaboration of scientists that has performed more than 50 studies on heatwaves, extreme rainfall, drought, floods, wildfires and cold spells around the world. The study has concluded that the recent North American and European heatwaves were virtually impossible without human-induced climate change.

Scientists from the group found that the July heatwaves in Europe and North America would have been almost impossible without anthropogenic climate change, according to analysis by World Weather Attribution, but they are no longer unusual events due to warming caused by burning fossil fuels and other human activities. The study also found that climate change made the heatwave in China at least 50 times more likely.

This July, southern Europe, parts of the United States, Mexico and China have experienced severe heatwaves with temperatures above 45°C, leading to heat alerts, wildfires and heat-related hospital admissions and deaths.

‘Hotter, longer and more frequent’

Climate change has made heatwaves hotter, longer and more frequent. To quantify the effect of climate change on the recent sustained high temperatures, scientists analysed weather data and computer model simulations to compare the climate as it is today, after about 1.2°C of global warming since the late 1800s, with the climate of the past, following peer-reviewed methods.

The European and North American temperatures would have been virtually impossible without the effects of burning coal, oil and gas, deforestation and other human activities. The Chinese heatwave was also made about 50 times more likely.

Greenhouse gas emissions made the heatwaves hotter than they would otherwise have been: the European heatwave was 2.5°C hotter, the North American heatwave was 2°C (3.6°F) hotter, and the heatwave in China was 1°C hotter because of climate change.

Heatwaves like these will become even more frequent and extreme if emissions are not rapidly halted and reduced to net zero, the scientists warn. If temperature rise reaches 2°C – as will happen in around 30 years unless every country signed up to the Paris Agreement fully implements their current pledges to rapidly cut emissions – events like this will become even more frequent, occurring every 2-5 years.

While the researchers say the development of El Niño, a naturally occurring climate phenomenon, likely contributed some additional heat to the heatwaves in some regions, increased global temperatures from burning fossil fuels is the main reason the heatwaves are so severe.

‘We still have time to secure a safe and healthy future’

Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in climate science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London said:

“The result of this attribution study is not surprising. The world hasn’t stopped burning fossil fuels, the climate continues to warm and heatwaves continue to become more extreme. It is that simple.

“However, these heatwaves are not evidence of ‘runaway warming’ or ‘climate collapse.’ We still have time to secure a safe and healthy future, but we urgently need to stop burning fossil fuels and invest in decreasing vulnerability. If we do not, tens of thousands of people will keep dying from heat-related causes each year.

“It is absolutely critical that governments legislate fossil fuel phase out at this year’s COP climate conference.”

Julie Arrighi, director (a.i.) at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, said:

“Heat is among the deadliest types of disaster.

“We need a cultural shift in the way we think about extreme heat. Extreme heat is deadly and rapidly on the rise. It is crucial to scale warning systems, heat action plans and investments in long-term adaptation measures. This includes urban planning and bolstering resilience of critical systems such as health, electricity, water and transport.

“To save lives during extreme heat, we need to look after the most vulnerable – this includes older people, people with underlying health conditions, people without housing, and communities with reduced access to cool spaces that can be lifelines during extreme heat.”

‘The link between global heating and the occurrence of deadly heatwaves is now unequivocal’

Professor Bill McGuire, author of ‘Hothouse Earth’ and emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, told Yorkshire Bylines that:

“There has been an explosion of extreme weather – most notably blistering heat – over the last few years, and our planet is clearly heading into new territory as far as heatwave frequency, intensity and duration are concerned. The finding that both the southern European and North American heatwaves would have been virtually impossible in the absence of anthropogenic global heating means that our climate has already transitioned to one that is completely alien to that which older parents would have experienced when children.

“Planning for the management of extreme heatwaves, and associated wildfires, now needs to be at the heart of policy for national governments, local and regional councils and disaster preparedness NGOs. Tens of thousands of people are already dying in heatwaves, even in developed nations, and the failure to understand that such extreme conditions will become ever more frequent and intense, and to mitigate their impact, will mean many more deaths.”

He continued by proposing that he was in favour of naming heatwaves – a suggestion made by meteorologist Guy Walton, who has named several this year already.

“As has been the case for storms for some time, attaching names flags them as dangerous events capable of taking life and causing widespread disruption, and makes it more likely that people will sit up and take notice.

“The link between global heating and the occurrence of deadly heatwaves is now unequivocal.”

The models may be underestimating the impact

Professor Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State, and creator of the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph’ told Yorkshire Bylines:

“These unprecedented extreme weather events simply wouldn’t be happening in the absence of human-caused warming from carbon pollution.”

He supported the use of cautionary language in the report, adding, “I like the fact that the press release emphasizes that these events don’t indicate a ‘tipping point’ or ‘runaway warming’ – rather, they reflect the way that planetary warming amplifies various types of extreme weather”.

He finished with a word of caution that the attribution models may indeed be underestimating the effects of human-caused warming:

As heatwaves are currently ravaging southern Europe, with Greece and Italy being extremely disrupted, a cultural shift in mindset is definitely required. There is speculation in the UK over a ‘net zero referendum’, despite manifesto pledges, the net zero strategy and the Climate Change Act all in place.

Simply because the UK is not suffering with heatwaves this summer yet, should not mean that we should stand idly by and watch others suffer; the threat is increasingly existential and on everyone’s doorstep.

Parts of this article have been adapted from a press release issued today by the World Weather Attribution Group.

Brian McHugh

Brian McHugh

Brian has lived in North Yorkshire for over 10 years. He is very interested in climate related issues and has recently edited a climate book due for release later this year. Air pollution and chemical pollution are particular areas of interest for him.

More takes on this subject:

Here are some other “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

More June 2023 Climatology:

Here is more climate and news from Tuesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Today’s News on Sustainable and Traditional Energy from Fossil Fuel:

More on the Environment:

More from the Weather Department:

More on other science and the beauty of Earth and this universe:

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Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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