When it comes to heatwaves, Climate Change is a "Game Changer," according to experts

When it comes to heatwaves, Climate Change is a "Game Changer," according to experts ...

Global warming''s unmistakable and measurable feature in all heatwaves today, according to top experts on the effects of climate change on extreme weather.

Burning fossil fuels and destroying forests have sparked enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing the frequency and intensity of many floods, droughts, wildfires, and tropical storms to rise, according to a state-of-science report.

"There is no doubt that climate change is a significant factor in the game changer when it comes to extreme heat," says Friederike Otto, a scientist at Imperial College London''s Grantham Institute.

Extreme hot spells, such as the heatwave that battered South Asia in March and April, are already the most deadly of extreme events, according to authorities.

"Every heat wave in the world is now stronger and more likely to happen as a result of human-caused climate change," Otto and his co-author said in the study, which they published as a briefing for the press.

Evidence of global warming''s impact on extreme weather has been booming for decades, but only recently has it been possible to answer the most obvious of questions: How long was a particular event caused by climate change?

A particularly severe hurricane, flood, or heatwave was consistent with general expectations of how global warming would eventually influence weather.

During the latter periods, the media stuttered climate change out of the picture entirely or, at the other extreme, mistakenly attributed a weather catastrophe to rising temperatures.

Otto and other pioneers of a field known as event attribution science have been able to understand sometimes in near realtime how much more likely or intense a particular storm or hot spell has become owing to global warming.

Courtroom evidence

For example, Otto and his colleagues from the World Weather Attribution (WWA) consortium concluded that the heatwave that shook western North America last June, bringing temperatures in Canada to a new high of 49.6 C (121 F) would have been "virtually impossible" without human-induced climate change.

Otto told AFP that a heatwave that shattered India and Pakistan last month is still under investigation, but the bigger picture is frighteningly clear.

"What we see right now in terms of extreme heat will be very normal, if not cool, in a 2-degree to 3-degree Celsius world," she said, refering to average global temperatures above preindustrial levels.

So far, the world has hampered by nearly 1.2 degrees.

According to the WWA, an increase in rainfall and flooding made last July a record high in Germany and Belgium. Over 200 people were killed up to nine times higher.

Global warming isn''t always to blame.

According to experts, a two-year drought in southern Madagascar, which resulted in near-famine situations.

Quantification of the effects of global warming on extreme weather events using peer-reviewed methods has real-world policy implications.

Attribution studies have been used as evidence in key climate litigation in the United States, Australia, and Europe.

A Peruvian farmer is suing the German energy giant for the costs of preventing harmful flooding from a glacial lake that has been destabilized by climate change in one case.

A scientific investigation concluded that human-caused global warming is directly responsible for creating a "critical threat" of a devastating explosion, putting a city of about 120,000 people in danger of potential floodwaters.

Agence France-Presse

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