Dramatically Increasing Likelihood of European Heatwaves over Last Decade

Tuesday 09th Dec 2014 by theWeather Club

The Met Office have announced that the chances of extreme European summers have drastically increased since the early 2000.

The research, published in Nature Climate Change, found that summers in parts of central and Mediterranean Europe have warmed by 0.81oC during the period between the 1990s and 2003-2012 and that the chances of summer heatwaves and extreme heatwaves (1.6oC and 2.3oC above the long-term 1961-1990 average, respectively) had increased ‘considerably’.

The lead author of the paper, Dr Nikos Christidis, said: “Extremely warm summers that would occur twice a century in the early 2000s are now expected to happen twice a decade. Moreover, the chances of heatwaves as extreme as seen in 2003 have increased from about 1-in-1000 to about 1-in100 years and are projected to occur once every other year by the 2030s-2040s under continuing greenhouse gas emissions.”

A previous attribution study found that the extreme 2003 European heatwave was more than twice as likely due to human influence. These latest findings are consistent with the prediction that the frequency, intensity and duration of heatwaves will increase in a warming climate. Indeed, it is predicted that summers as hot as 2003 will be considered ‘unusually cool’ by the end of the century, highlighting our increasing vulnerability to extreme heat.

The Met Office press release can be found here >>