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Climate: Heatwave impacts to quadruple by 2040

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Australia’s record-breaking 2013 heatwave may become the new norm in just a few decades.

‘A new climatic regime’

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The number of severe heatwaves could double by 2020 and quadruple by 2040, according to a team of German and Spanish scientists who fine-tuned a set of climate models to try and reduce uncertainty. In the second half of the century, even higher frequencies are expected unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

“In many regions, the coldest summer months by the end of the century will be hotter than the hottest experienced today. That’s what our calculations show for a scenario of unabated climate change,” said Dim Coumou, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “We would enter a new climatic regime.” Continue reading

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Climate: Study shows systematic increase in heat waves

‘Most monthly heat records are due to climate change. The science is clear that only a small fraction would have occurred naturally’

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By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Monthly temperature extremes have become five to 10 times more frequent as a result of global warming, according to a new statistical study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Complutense University of Madrid.

On average, there are now five times as many record-breaking hot months worldwide than could be expected without long-term global warming,and in parts of Europe, Africa and southern Asia the number of monthly records has increased even by a factor of 10.

“The last decade brought unprecedented heat waves; for instance in the US in 2012, in Russia in 2010, in Australia in 2009, and in Europe in 2003,” said lead-author Dim Coumou, describing the paper that was published in the journal Climatic Change. “Heat extremes are causing many deaths, major forest fires, and harvest losses – societies and ecosystems are not adapted to ever new record-breaking temperatures.” Continue reading

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