Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Human Activity Caused Latest European Heat Wave, Scientists Say

Climate
The street thermometer in front of the EU Commission headquarters shows a temperature of 46° Celsius (114° F), on July 25 in Brussels, as a new heatwave hits the Belgium capital. Thierry Monasse / Getty Images

The latest heat wave that crippled Paris with 109 degree Fahrenheit heat and saw the mercury hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the Netherlands and Belgium was caused by humans, according to a new study published on Friday, as the Associated Press reported.


The rapid attribution study by a team of respected climate scientists from the international partnership at the World Weather Attribution Group found that the heat wave in France was made 10 to 100 more times more likely by human activity. And, the heat wave that had Great Britain sweltering was made twice as likely by human activity, according to the BBC.

"It is noteworthy that every heat wave analyzed so far in Europe in recent years (2003, 2010, 2015, 2017, 2018, June 2019, and this study) was found to be made much more likely and more intense due to human-induced climate change. How much more depends very strongly on the event definition: location, season, intensity, and durations," the World Weather Attribution Group's report explained, as Common Dreams reported. "The July 2019 heat wave was so extreme over continental Western Europe that the observed magnitudes would have been extremely unlikely without climate change."

The group published this report, just one month after studying another European heat wave. The back-to-back heat waves are unusual and jarring. The report's lead author sounded the alarm that this latest heat wave is a foreboding omen of what is coming down the pike.

"What will be the impacts on agriculture? What will the impacts on water?" said Robert Vautard of the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace in France, as the AP reported. "This will put really tension in society that we may not be so well equipped to cope with."

The record-setting temperatures in France and Germany smashed the previous highs by more than 2 degrees Celsius. The study concluded that without temperature rises due to the human-induced climate crisis, temperatures would have been 1.5 to 3 degrees Celsius lower, according to the AP.

"We find that it was much more extreme than any other heat wave we've looked at over the last few years," said Jan van Oldenborgh of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, who contributed to the study, to Carbon Brief, as Common Dreams reported. "[It impacted] France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Western Germany, Eastern England, and also parts of Scandinavia—and at the moment it's inducing a large melting event over Greenland."

This year's heat wave was triggered by a slight movement in the Jetstream, which pulled hot air from North Africa across France and toward Scandinavia. That movement in the Jetstream is not so rare. What is odd is the extent of the warming temperatures, which ranked as a 50 to 150 year event where it peaked in France and Germany. However, if you take the same data and plug it into pre-industrial temperatures, the heat was a once in a millennium event, as Ars Technica reported.

An expert not connected to the study, Celine Bonfils of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, told the AP that the findings are clear: "Record hot weather events are becoming more likely, and human-induced climate change is causing this increase in heat wave frequency."


EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A scenic view of West Papua. Reza Fakhrudin / Pexels

By Arkilaus Kladit

My name is Arkilaus Kladit. I'm from the Knasaimos-Tehit tribe in South Sorong Regency, West Papua Province, Indonesia. For decades my tribe has been fighting to protect our forests from outsiders who want to log it or clear it for palm oil. For my people, the forest is our mother and our best friend. Everything we need to survive comes from the forest: food, medicines, building materials, and there are many sacred sites in the forest.

Read More Show Less
Everyone overthinks their lives or options every once in a while. Some people, however, can't stop the wheels and halt their train of thoughts. Peter Griffith / Getty Images

By Farah Aqel

Overthinkers are people who are buried in their own obsessive thoughts. Imagine being in a large maze where each turn leads into an even deeper and knottier tangle of catastrophic, distressing events — that is what it feels like to them when they think about the issues that confront them.

Read More Show Less
A newly developed catalyst would transform carbon dioxide from power plants and other sources into ethanol. DWalker44 / E+ / Getty Images

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a cheap, efficient way to convert carbon dioxide into liquid fuel, potentially reducing the amount of new carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere.

Read More Show Less
Eureka Sound on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic taken by NASA's Operation IceBridge in 2014. NASA / Michael Studinger / Flickr / CC by 2.0

A 4,000-year-old ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic has collapsed into the sea, leaving Canada without any fully intact ice shelves, Reuters reported. The Milne Ice Shelf lost more than 40 percent of its area in just two days at the end of July, said researchers who monitored its collapse.

Read More Show Less
Teachers and activists attend a protest hosted by Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago, Illinois on Aug. 3, 2020 to demand classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening. KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus cases surging around the U.S. are often carried by kids, raising fears that the reopening of schools will be delayed and calling into question the wisdom of school districts that have reopened already.

Read More Show Less
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds up COVID-19 alert levels during a press conference at Parliament on March 21, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

By Michael Baker, Amanda Kvalsvig and Nick Wilson

On Sunday, New Zealand marked 100 days without community transmission of COVID-19.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms on Aug. 3, 2020 in Austin, Texas. John Moore / Getty Images

The U.S. passed five million coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, just 17 days after it hit the four-million case mark.

Read More Show Less