Experts say that the latest heat waves in Europe is "virtually certain" to be caused by climate change. This week, Germany, Spain and London all experienced the hottest July day ever recorded.
A group of climate experts from universities, meteorological facilities and research teams from all around the world came up with a real-time analysis of climate data on Friday, July 4. According to the scientists, the heat waves striking Europe this week, or coined as three-day periods of excessive heat, are increasing in frequency.
The heat wave analysis is a segment of the bigger World Weather Attribution program, spearheaded by Climate Central, which is a science journalism group based in the US. The analysis was also supported by international organizations such as the University of Melbourne, Oxford University, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. The objectives of the said program include utilizing weather information, forecasting and climate frameworks to present how the constantly changing patterns of weather are associated with climate change. Ultimately, the program targets that adequate public understanding be achieved to better prepare the people for radical weather alterations such as the latest heat waves in Europe.
The weather changes that transpired in Europe are highly varied. For example, in De Bilt in the Netherlands, the heat wave that is expected to hit the place in the coming days is said to happen only once in every 30 years in the 1900s. But at present, the said drastic change may occur every three and a half years, the scientists noted.
The heat wave that typically happens once every 100 years was said to have occurred in Mannheim, Germany in the last few days. According to the experts, this type of heat wave is expected to happen every 15 years with the present condition of the planet.
London hit its all-time highest temperature for July on Wednesday, July 1, as Heathrow Airport was detected to have reach 98.06 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 degrees Celsius), the scientists said.
The connection of the increased frequency of heat waves and climate change is felt by more and more people and that we are encountering a new normal, says Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.
In the Netherlands, the Central Bureau of Statistics estimates that an average population of 200 or more people will succumb to death each week that the country faces a heat wave. This translates to a 10 percent increase in mortality rates. Deaths in older adults are of particular significance to this current scenario. In 2003, an additional 70,000 people were widely made up of the elderly population when France and other European countries suffered from a heat wave.
Photo: Jennifer Boyer | Flickr