It is no longer necessary to ask whether the heat wave is affected by climate change.
On Monday, the temperature in Washington and Oregon soared above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking records and leaving the locals-many of them No air conditioning -Try to find a place to escape the suffocating heat. In Seattle, fans and air-conditioning units from major retailers have been sold out due to the highest temperature in history. 106 Fahrenheit marks an unprecedented The third day in a row High temperature of 100 degrees.In Portland, the light rail cable Literally melted When the record maximum temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal.
Some scientists are beginning to say that not only Once in a lifetime The heat wave sweeping the Pacific Northwest is linked to climate change-but it can be safely assumed All Due to all the carbon emissions released into the atmosphere, heat waves become more serious or more likely to occur.
“Now, if we have an extreme heat wave, Null hypothesis Yes, “climate change makes the situation worse,” said Andrew Desler, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. It is not necessary to prove climate change Have done Dessler explained that, affecting the heat wave, any scientist now has the responsibility to prove that global warming is not working.
This is a far cry from twenty years ago, when scientists Hesitate Link extreme weather events with climate change. When researchers do link extreme floods, droughts, or heat waves to human-induced warming, their results are usually released several years later due to the long process of peer review. But now, as extreme high temperatures (and research) continue to increase, scientists increasingly believe that climate change plays a role in basically every one of them.
“Every heat wave that occurs today is made more likely and more intense due to man-made climate change,” Tweet Friederike Otto, climate scientist, deputy director of the Institute of Environmental Change at Oxford University.
In the past ten years, researchers have analyzed More than 100 heat waves Around the world, the conclusion reached is that climate change makes almost everyone more likely or worse. (In some studies, the results are inconclusive.) One study found that 2017 European heat wave The likelihood of being nicknamed “Lucifer” has increased fourfold; another found that the unusually warm summer in Texas in 2011 was caused by 10 times more likely.
In a few cases, researchers have calculated that without the 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) that the earth has warmed since the pre-industrial era, a heat wave would be almost impossible.Scientists estimate that the heat wave in Siberia last year-which brought the temperature of the Arctic Circle to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit-was caused by 600 times More likely Due to the warming of the climate.
“The analogy people often use is loading dice-you have dice, they used to be fair, but now we are loading dice,” Desler said. “But what actually happened is that we have reached the point where we have added another side. Now we are throwing sevens.”
Many parts of the United States are simply not prepared for such extreme heat.According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, major U.S. cities have experienced Heat waves twice a year In the 1960s; now it is more like six. The heat wave season has also been extended by 47 days-which helps explain why the Pacific Northwest was hit by extreme heat as early as June.
For Desler, the frightening thing is that all of this happened with a warming of only 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius), and by the end of this century, the earth is expected to warm by about 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius). He pointed out that climate change does not proceed linearly. Things may seem to be gradual until everything falls apart. “It will be worse than three times worse,” he said.