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The 2017 Heat waves in Europe Are a Signature of Global Warming

The heat waves experienced in Europe in 2017 were a result of global warming induced by human activities. Every summer, there is now a 10% chance of seeing a summer as hot as 2017, as shown by an international collaboration involving researchers from LSCE.

Published on 20 October 2017

Summer temperatures broke historic records this year, on average and during peaks, in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Are these heat waves mere seasonal fluctuations, or are they associated with human-induced climate change?

By combining large sets of computer simulations and available observations, the researchers involved in the World Weather Attribution (WW3) project, including scientists from LSCE at the Pierre-Simon-Laplace Institute, came to the conclusion that the record temperatures of summer 2017 are now at least ten times more likely to occur than if humans hadn't had an impact on greenhouse gas concentrations. They showed that in the absence of actions on greenhouse gas emissions, such phenomena will become the norm starting as early as 2050.

Launched at the end of 2014, the World Weather Attribution program for the analysis of extreme climate events is a partnership of Climate Central, USA, the University of Oxford, UK, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, the Netherlands, the University of Melbourne, Australia, and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre in the Netherlands.

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