Scientists from the World Weather Attribution initiative published a report last week on extreme heat in North America, Europe and China. As the title of the report says, the extreme heat in July 2023, the hottest month on record worldwide, is also largely enabled by climate change.
The researchers have found that heat waves are among the deadliest natural hazards of all, although essential data are missing, so that a large number of unreported cases cannot be taken into account (for data in Germany, see RKI). Heat waves like the current one have become a lot more likely due to climate change – these heat waves are expected to occur approximately every 15 years in the US/Mexico region, every 10 years in Southern Europe and every 5 years in China, whereas without climate change this event would most likely occur only every 250 years in China, whereas it would have been practically impossible in the other regions.
The report concludes that heat action plans are essential, especially in cities, to prevent deaths, the number of which may increase significantly without a determined response to climate change.