Blame climate change for longer, hotter, more damaging heat waves: study

Climate change is causing gigantic heat waves that move more slowly around the world and are baking more people for longer. higher temperatures in larger areas, a new study finds.

Since 1979, global heat waves are moving 20% ​​slower – meaning more people stay warmer longer – and are occurring 67% more often, according to a study published Friday. Scientific advances. The study found that the highest temperatures in heat waves are warmer than 40 years ago and the area under a heat dome is larger.

Studies have shown that heat waves get worse sooner, but this one is more comprehensive and focuses heavily not just on temperature and area, but also on how long the intense heat lasts and how it travels across continents, they said. study co-authors and climate scientists Wei Zhang of Utah. State University and Gabriel Lau of Princeton University.

From 1979 to 1983, global heat waves would last eight days on average, but between 2016 and 2020 that was up to 12 days, according to the study.

Eurasia was especially hard hit by longer-lasting heat waves, the study found. Heat waves slowed the most in Africa, while North America and Australia saw the largest increases in overall magnitude, which measures temperature and area, according to the study.

“This paper sends a clear warning that climate change makes heat waves even more dangerous in more ways than one,” said Michael Wehner, a climate scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who was not part of the research.

Just like in an oven, the longer the heat lasts, the more something cooks. In this case it’s about people, the co-authors said.

“Those heat waves travel slower and slower, which basically means… there’s a heat wave there and those heat waves could stay in the region longer,” Zhang said. “And the adverse impacts on our human society would be enormous and increasing over the years.”

The team ran computer simulations that showed this change was due to heat-trapping emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas. The study found the footprint of climate change by simulating a world without greenhouse gas emissions and concluding that it could not produce the increasing heat waves seen over the past 45 years.

A study says that since 1979, climate change has made heat waves last longer, get bigger and harm more people. #Climate Change #Heat Waves #Global Warming

The study also analyzes changes in weather patterns that spread heat waves. Atmospheric waves that move weather systems, such as the jet stream, are weakening, so they are not moving heat waves as quickly, from west to east on most continents, but not all, Zhang said. .

Several outside scientists praised the overall way Zhang and his colleagues examined heat waves, showing the interaction with weather patterns and their global movement and, especially, how they are slowing.

This shows “how heat waves evolve in three dimensions and move regionally and across continents rather than looking at temperatures in individual places,” said Kathy Jacobs, a climate scientist at the University of Arizona who was not part of the study.

“One of the most direct consequences of global warming is the increase in heat waves,” said Jennifer Francis, a scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, who was not part of the study. “These results put a big exclamation point on that fact.”

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