Climate change will increase the risk of extreme heat, say scientists

Heat waves in European Russia in the summer of 2010 may have been due to natural causes, but global warming is linked to human activity, three times the likelihood of such a situation, write British and Dutch scientists in a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

In the summer of 2010 in the European part of the Russian heat wave was recorded. Two months over the European part of the country was an anticyclone, the temperature for a long time kept at above 30 degrees Celsius. Due to the heat wave in European record fires blazed, because of which killed 62 people. The total damage was more than 12 billion rubles. Because of the fires could hanging over Moscow and many other cities.

Scientists are still unable to agree on the causes of extreme hot summer in Russia. Thus, a group led by Randall Dole (Randall Dole) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration USA (NOAA) in a study published in 2011, stated that the anomaly was due mainly to natural causes. At the same time, the results of Stefan Rahmstorf (Stefan Rahmstorf) of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Studies showed the opposite: with a probability of 80%, a large-scale climate warming observed since 1980, a record heat wave in Russia in the summer of 2010 simply would not exist.

A group led by Frederick Otto (Friederike Otto) from the Institute of Climate Change at the University of Oxford with the help of computer simulation to obtain results that connect these points of view.

"Natural variations (weather) could lead to such extreme heat. However, due to global warming, the frequency of heat waves has increased," — says Otto was quoted as saying in a statement of the American Geophysical Union.

Otto and her colleagues used computer models that are used in the project weatherathome.net — "civil" distributed computing project in which everyone can provide power their home PCs long climate research, for example to find an answer to the question of the relationship of climate change and the frequency of extreme weather events.

Scientists ran two cycles of modeling. The first researchers tested, could the extreme summer 2010 occur in the climatic conditions in 1960 — when the mean temperature, sea ice thickness and concentration of greenhouse gases. In the second cycle, scientists have tried to reproduce the heat wave in the climatic conditions typical of the 2000s.

The results showed that, even without the explicit contribution of global warming, usloviyah1960 years, heat waves can reach the level that was observed in reality in 2010. From this, the researchers concluded that the extreme heat of this magnitude could be due to natural factors.

However, as the calculation of the probability of heat waves in these two types of conditions considerably.

If the climate of extreme heat in 1960 could occur once in 99 years, in a climate-2000 — three times as often, once in 33 years.

"These results suggest that the same weather phenomenon may be" only natural "in terms of scale, and" caused by human activity "in terms of probability" — said study co-author Neil Massey (Neil Massey) from Oxford.

"Based on this approach it is possible to calculate, for example, as the great cost of the Russian economy in the summer of 2010 caused by human activity to climate change," — he added.

Professor Allen Miles (Myles Allen) from Oxford, study co-author and project scientist and weatherathome.net climateprediction.net, notes that the value of knowledge itself is of extreme weather events and changes in the probability allow society better resist and recover faster after their strokes.

"People need to know how much climate change affects their lives. And we have a method to answer the question: how large is the contribution to the human scale weather events," — he said.

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