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Home / World / Science says: record heat, fires worsened by climate change

Science says: record heat, fires worsened by climate change



Heat waves again set world temperature records. Europe suffered its deadliest fire in more than a century, and one of nearly 90 major fires in the US burned dozens of homes and forced the evacuation of at least 37,000 people near Redding, California. Tidal torrents shook the US east this week.

It's all part of the summer – but everything is made worse by man-made climate change, scientists say.

"Strangeness abounds," said Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis

Japan hit 106 degrees on Monday, the hottest temperature ever. Records fell in parts of Massachusetts, Maine, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, New Mexico and Texas. And then there's the crazy heat in Europe, where Norway, Sweden and Finland usually have seen temperatures they've never seen before. So far this month, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, at least 1

18 of these all-time heat records have been set up or bound around the world.

The explanations should sound as familiar as the crash of broken records. [19659002] "We now have strong evidence that global warming has already crossed the balance and increases the odds of extreme heat and heavy rains," said Stanford University's climate researcher Noah Diffenbaugh. "We find that global warming has increased the chances of recording hot events on more than 80 percent of the planet and has increased the chances of recording wet events on about half of the planet."

Climate change is making the world warmer, as heat-shock gases accumulate in the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil and other human activities. And experts say that the jet stream – which dictates the weather in the northern hemisphere – behaves strangely again.

"An unusually sharp kinked jet stream has been in place for weeks," said Jeff Masters, director of Private Weather Underground. He says that the heat remains in three areas where the kinks lie: Europe, Japan and the western United States.

The same jet stream pattern caused the European heatwave in 2003, the 2010 Russian heatwave and fires, the 2011 Texas and Oklahoma drought, and the 2016 Canadian forest fires, Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann said, looking ahead to earlier studies from him and others. He said in an e-mail that these extremes are "becoming more frequent because of man-made climate change and, in particular, increased warming in the Arctic."

Climate researchers have long said that they can not directly link individual weather events. Like a heat wave, humans caused climate change without extensive studies. Over the past decade, they have used observations, statistics and computer simulations to calculate whether global warming increases the chances of events.

A study by European scientists Friday found that the ongoing European heatwave is twice as likely to be global warming, although these conclusions have not yet been confirmed by external scientists. The World Weather Attribution team said they compared the 3-day heat measurements and forecasts for the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland with historical records from the early 20th century.

"The world is getting warmer and so heat waves are getting more and more," said Friederike Otto, a member of the team and deputy director of the Institute for Environmental Change at the University of Oxford.

Erich Fischer, expert on weather extremes at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who was not. Part of the analysis said the authors used well-established methods to draw their conclusions.

Georgia Tech climatologist Kim Cobb said the link between climate change and fires is not as strong as it is during heatwaves, but it

A devastating fire in Greece – with at least 83 fatalities – is the deadliest fire in Europe since 1900, According to the International Disaster Database of the Center for the Research or the Epidemiology of Disasters in Brussels, Belgium

In the United States, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, there were 89 active major fires that consumed nearly 900,000 acres. This year, the fires burned to 4.15 million acres, which is almost 14 percent more than the average of the last 10 years.

The first major scientific study linking greenhouse gases with stronger and longer heatwaves was in 2004. It was titled "More intense, more frequent and prolonged heatwaves in the 21st century." Study author Gerald Meehl from the National Center for Atmospheric Research said Friday that "as long as average temperatures continue to rise and emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise through the burning of fossils, it 'reads like a prediction of what happens and will continue to happen . " It is no secret.

Borenstein reported from Washington, Jordan from Berlin

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @bornenbears .Her work can be found here.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education, with the AP responsible for all content.


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