Record summer heat supercharged by man-made climate change, study finds

© Xavier Galiana, AFP

Record-shattering temperatures that impacted billions of people in the northern hemisphere this summer were given a massive boost by human-caused climate change, an analysis showed Thursday.

The new paper by the nonprofit Climate Central group examined the period from June to August 2023, finding that greenhouse gas emissions pumped into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial era made the heat waves that baked Asia, Africa, Europe and North America far more likely.

Nearly half of the global population – more than 3.8 billion people – were exposed to 30 or more days of extreme heat worsened by climate change, while at least 1.5 billion people lived through such temperatures every day over those three months.

"Virtually no one on Earth escaped the influence of global warming during the past three months," said Andrew Pershing, Climate Central's vice president for science.

"In every country we could analyze, including the southern hemisphere where this is the coolest time of year, we saw temperatures that would be difficult – and in some cases nearly impossible – without human-caused climate change. Carbon pollution is clearly responsible for this season's record-setting heat."

The analysis relied on peer-reviewed methods to determine the likelihood of daily temperatures in each country of the world with and without today's levels of carbon pollution.


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