Extreme Hemispheric Heat Waves Like 2018’s Growing More Common with Climate Change, Study Says
Heat waves are covering wider areas, and people are suffering the consequences. With 2°C of warming, most summers will look like 2018, scientists say.
As temperatures spiked across a large part of the Northern Hemisphere last summer, I got an alarming call from my mother, who was living in Linz, Austria. She was dizzy and disoriented, and she hadn’t been sleeping.
The region had been suffering through several weeks of above average day and nighttime temperatures, and when I arrived from Vienna, her apartment building felt like a concrete oven. Her symptoms sounded like heat exhaustion.
We helped her pack a bag, checked on an elderly neighbor with similar symptoms, and then left the sweltering city for a mountain lake like we were first-world climate refugees.
A study presented this week at a scientific conference in Vienna now shows that last summer’s extreme heat was an “unprecedented” hemispheric event that would not have happened without heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution, the researchers said, and that it lasted longer and was more widespread across the Northern Hemisphere than previously realized.
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