Intense heat waves are gripping regions across the world with experts saying that this is just the beginning. Unusual temperatures have been recorded at the South Pole’s Vostok Station as well as at the North Pole. The Arctic was more than 3C warmer than its long-term average. Heat waves at both the poles is a “climate catastrophe”.
A heat wave in India and Pakistan, in March, brought the highest temperatures since records began 122 years ago. Experts said the Asian heat wave was made 30 times more likely to happen by human influence on the climate. This kind of weather continued across the subcontinent, wreaking millions of households.
And in the US, the spring season was more like mid-summer. The country recorded soaring temperatures in May. In Europe, Spain hit 40C in early June as a heat wave swept across the region. It hit the UK last week.
Scientists say these record-breaking temperatures are no natural occurrence. Vikki Thompson, a climate scientist at the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute, highlighted that climate change is making heat waves hotter and last longer around the world.
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Moreover, data shows that many specific heat waves are more intense because of human-induced climate change. Thompson pointed out that it’s even detectable in the number of deaths attributed to heat waves. Friederike Otto, a senior lecturer in climate science at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, explained that heat waves in Europe had increased in frequency by a factor of 100 or more. Its caused by human actions in pouring greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Otto believes climate change is a real game-changer when it comes to heat waves.
It has increased in frequency, intensity, and duration across the world. Heat waves pose a serious threat to human health as it puts stress on the body, indirectly damage crops and cause wildfires. It also damages infrastructure like roads and buildings.
The Earth has warmed by about 1.2C above pre-industrial levels. If the temperature rises more, it would be too great to tackle with shady trees or white roods. Experts believe that at 2C, around 1 billion people will suffer extreme heat. Katharine Hayhoe, the chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy, said humans cannot adapt their way out of the climate crisis. If greenhouse gas and car emissions continue, no adaptation is possible.