Man-made climate change probably made last month’s European heatwave, in which southern France experienced a national record 114.6 Fahrenheit, 7F hotter than it would otherwise have been, scientists said on Tuesday.
“Climate change is no longer an abstract increase in global mean temperature, but a difference you can feel when you step outside in a heatwave,” said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, senior researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and one of the paper’s authors.
“The observations show … similarly frequent heat waves would have likely been about 4C cooler a century ago,” said the report by the World Weather Attribution group of scientists.
It also said that climate change had made the record-breaking heatwave at least five times more likely.
“We experienced a heatwave whose intensity could become the norm in the middle of the century,” said Robert Vautard, senior scientist at France’s CNRS institute.
Climate scientists have long said that a warming of the earth’s surface caused mainly by industrial-era emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels will make weather events more extreme, and make those extremes – such as storms, drought and flooding – more frequent.