Climate change made June heatwave ‘at least 5 times more likely’, scientists say

(EurActiv, 3 Jul 2019) Last week’s record-breaking temperatures in France and other parts of Europe were at least five times more likely to happen – and potentially even 100 times more – because of climate change, according to leading climate scientists at the World Weather Attribution group.

The rapid analysis of the June heatwave, published on Tuesday (2 July), looked at three-day average temperatures across Europe and France, where the highest temperatures were recorded.

They found climate change made the heatwave more likely by a least five times, and potentially one hundred times.

“Both observations and models show a strong trend towards stronger heatwaves,” said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, a senior researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

“If the observed trend in heatwaves continues, at the Paris goal of 2ºC warming a heatwave like this will be the norm in June,” he said.

Robert Vautard, a senior scientist at France’s public-funded CNRS research institute, said “temperatures in France could potentially rise to about 50°C or more by the end of the century,” if nothing is done to reduce emissions of global warming gases.

“We experienced a heatwave whose intensity could become the norm in the middle of the century,” Vautard said.

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EurActiv, 3 Jul 2019: Climate change made June heatwave ‘at least 5 times more likely’, scientists say