'Mega-heatwaves' more likely

2011-03-18 07:21

London - "Mega-heat waves" like the one that hit Russia and other parts of eastern Europe in 2010 are up to 10 times more likely to occur over the next 40 years and could have serious consequences, scientists said on Thursday.

In a study published in the journal Science, researchers from Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and Spain said the 2010 heat wave was hotter and more widespread than Europe's 2003 heat wave, but another one like it was unlikely until after 2050.

So-called "mega-heat waves" will probably become five to 10 times more likely over the next 40 years in Europe, they wrote, but "the magnitude of the 2010 event was so extreme that despite this increase, the occurrence... over the same region remains fairly unlikely until the second half of the 21st century."

Last year's heat wave hit Russia particularly hard, leading to average temperatures for Moscow of 7.6°C above normal in July.

The researchers, led by David Barriopedro at the University of Lisbon, cited preliminary estimates that in Russia alone, there were more than 55 000 heat-related deaths, extensive wildfires, an annual crop failure of about 25%, and economic losses of around 1% of gross domestic product.


Finland, Ukraine and Belarus also had extreme high temperatures around the same time.

To put the 2010 heat wave into perspective, Barriopedro's team compared it with other heat waves reaching back to 1871, in terms of length, spatial extent and temperature.

Their analysis found the 2010 heat wave was more severe than the one in 2003, and showed at least two summers in this decade have most likely been the warmest of the last 510 years in Europe.

"Our results reveal that... there is an increasing likelihood of 'mega-heat waves' over highly populated areas of Europe with magnitudes such that they would exceed the exceptional current seasonal maxima of western Europe within the next four decades and of eastern Europe afterward," the researchers concluded.

"Given the disastrous effects of the 2003 and 2010 events, these results venture serious risks of simultaneous adverse impacts over large areas if no adaptive strategies are adopted."

  • Gores_A_Liar - 2011-03-18 09:12

    Are these "scientists" the same charlatans whose lies and deceit were all revealed in the Climategate emails? they have no more credibility.

      unrealchris - 2011-03-18 09:49

      And you have not seen the hotter summers we are getting in SA, or the extreme rain as well for instance last year. You dont notice extreme floads in NZ as well. No the climate is fine you lair, the climate is fine...

      FatPenguin - 2011-03-18 10:29

      This guy must be a troll. No-one could be that stupid.

      Gores_A_Liar - 2011-03-18 11:05

      Bloodbang, you are showing your hysteria and ignorance with your effete and personally-attacking response. Science is never "settled", it is not a dogma either. For people of intelligence who read this article, I would suggest visting sites like wattsupwiththat dot com and see what shenanigans go on with so-called climate science.

  • Nick4me - 2011-03-18 09:42

    You do not have to believe science, it is the reality

  • alexander.lombard - 2011-03-18 12:11

    @Gore I presume that is an american website. The truth is just as much money is spent trying to discredit climate change as there are people figting for climate change. The Americans have wild imaginations on both views. I would rather try and understand facts and scientific data than trying to listen to lobiest on both sides

      Gores_A_Liar - 2011-03-18 12:32

      Is this the same data that the once-esteemed "Dr" Phil Jones of the CRU doctored to "hide the decline" (his words), in surface temepratures? The very same data that prompted him to call it a "travesty" that average surface temperatures had not increased in the past 15 years? The same data that was used by a bunch of inept climate science novices to predict that the Himalayan Glaciers would be melted away by 2035 (this was the same prediction published in the virtually defunct IPCC report that was retracted almost immediately after it was revealed how riddled with errors it was). As a parting thought, anyone with a brain cell should be questioning a dogma ("global warming"/"climate change" or whatever they change the name to) that has been espoused by no less than a failed US politician who happens to have my name, ie. Al Gore Is A Liar.

  • pages:
  • 1