Human-induced climate change makes heatwaves 30 times more likely

Human-induced climate change has made the United Kingdom's record-breaking 2018 summer heatwave around 30 ti...

Posted: Dec 6, 2018 1:31 PM
Updated: Dec 6, 2018 1:31 PM

Human-induced climate change has made the United Kingdom's record-breaking 2018 summer heatwave around 30 times more likely than under normal conditions, the country's meteorological body has said.

The UK as a whole endured its joint hottest summer on record in 2018, and the hottest ever for England. Temperatures peaked in the east of England, reaching 35.6C (96F) in Felsham, Suffolk on July 27, and the UK's average temperature matched previous highs recorded in 2006, 2003 and 1976.

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A new analysis from the UK's national weather service, the Met Office, presented at the United Nations' COP24 climate change conference in Katowice, Poland Thursday, has shown that the UK now has an approximately 12% chance of average summer temperatures being as high as in 2018.

Such temperatures would typically have a less than 0.5% chance of occurring under "natural" climate conditions.

"Our provisional study compared computer models based on today's climate with those of the natural climate we would have had without human-induced emissions," said Professor Peter Stott from the Met Office and Exeter University.

Stott noted that the "rapidly increasing changes" stem from an increase in the concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide concentrations reached 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere in 2017, compared with an atmospheric concentration of around 280 ppm in the pre-industrial era (pre-1750).

A new report published this week by the Global Carbon Project, an international research project on global sustainability, revealed that fossil fuel emissions rose by 1.7% in 2017, and are set to rise further by 2.7% this year, to 37.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The Met Office warned that soaring temperatures are having an increasing impact on people's lives.

"The extreme temperatures experienced in the UK and around the world during summer 2018 had a significant impact upon many people's lives," Met Office chief scientist Professor Stephen Belcher said in a statement.

"We now live in a climate in which heatwaves occur more frequently and, depending on the choices we make around greenhouse gas emissions, we could reach a point in the future when we can expect a hot summer like that of 2018 to occur every year," he concluded.

A quarterly mortality report published by the UK's Office for National Statistics showed that there were 259 more deaths on June 25 and 26 this year compared with the five-year average of 2,146 for the two days.

Crop failures were also recorded across the country, Northern Ireland introduced its first hosepipe ban since 1995, and critical drinking-water reservoirs ran dry.

Kathryn Brown, the head of adaptation in the UK's Committee on Climate Change, which advises the government, told CNN that the report reinforces that the government must redouble its efforts to address the impacts of high temperatures and lack of rain.

"The government must address the issue of greater shortages in water supplies for people, agriculture, industry and the natural environment, whilst improving shading and ventilation in new-build properties as well as reversing the decline of urban green spaces," she said.

"Without action, the number of heat-related deaths could increase from 2,000 per year today to 7,000 by the 2050s as a result of climate change and population growth."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 90942

Reported Deaths: 2021
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26054922
Ramsey10572318
Dakota7216125
Anoka5801132
Stearns381223
Washington361055
Scott245833
Olmsted231927
Nobles193616
Blue Earth16116
Wright15407
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Clay128140
Sherburne110414
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Steele5222
Benton5153
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Nicollet50416
Todd4792
Chisago4581
McLeod4522
Le Sueur4454
Crow Wing43918
Otter Tail4004
Beltrami3795
Goodhue3329
Martin3299
Pine2840
Itasca28213
Polk2754
Isanti2650
Douglas2622
Becker2482
Carlton2451
Cottonwood2190
Pipestone2159
Unassigned21252
Morrison2081
Dodge2020
Chippewa1971
Sibley1843
Meeker1832
Brown1802
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Murray1572
Rock1550
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Faribault1320
Cass1313
Swift1231
Roseau1170
Houston1140
Pennington1121
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Koochiching1113
Kanabec1098
Lincoln1020
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Aitkin731
Big Stone700
Wadena670
Grant594
Lake570
Wilkin563
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Mahnomen461
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 80698

Reported Deaths: 1275
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15366259
Woodbury504263
Johnson501127
Black Hawk437586
Linn3808108
Story331517
Dubuque282341
Scott281827
Dallas269838
Pottawattamie200238
Buena Vista195112
Marshall176234
Sioux13723
Wapello127157
Webster120214
Clinton107419
Muscatine106854
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Crawford10145
Cerro Gordo100221
Warren9326
Jasper77232
Des Moines7407
Marion7265
Tama69431
Carroll6375
Henry6204
Lee5997
Wright5631
Dickinson4876
Boone4788
Bremer4687
Washington43211
Louisa42515
Mahaska34619
Delaware3423
Franklin34218
Hamilton3153
Jackson3043
Floyd3023
Winneshiek2995
Clay2963
Benton2871
Hardin2841
Winnebago27511
Butler2622
Lyon2603
Clarke2563
Emmet25210
Poweshiek2528
Buchanan2511
Allamakee2486
Jones2483
Shelby2441
Clayton2343
Guthrie2315
Kossuth2310
Cedar2231
Chickasaw2220
Sac2200
Grundy2062
Madison2062
Cherokee2042
Fayette2002
Iowa1921
Mitchell1830
Howard1826
Harrison1812
Humboldt1763
Hancock1742
Calhoun1722
Mills1691
Palo Alto1630
Pocahontas1542
Lucas1526
Monroe15010
Page1420
Monona1401
Cass1362
Jefferson1341
Osceola1300
Appanoose1253
Taylor1241
Union1223
Davis1164
Van Buren1111
Ida1030
Worth1030
Keokuk911
Fremont900
Greene890
Montgomery885
Wayne842
Audubon681
Adair671
Decatur600
Ringgold442
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Unassigned70
Rochester
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