These scientists wondered if heat waves were a one-time thing or a trailer for the future. they have bad news

  • 23

In Spain, yes; but also in the Baltic countries, in New Delhi, in Africain China, in the northwestern coast of the US… 2022 has become synonymous with ‘heat waves’ throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Waves, in many cases, unprecedented in all of modern history. Waves that have forced scientists to wonder if this is an “isolated problem” or if it is the prelude to what is to come.


How likely is the end of the world?. The problem with this type of prediction is that, as the meteorologist explained Ernesto Rodriguez Camino in the SMC, it is relatively common that in “many studies on future estimates of climatic variables (such as temperature and precipitation) […] alternative greenhouse gas emission scenarios are selected from the beginning” and “assumptions about the greater or lesser probability of the different scenarios” are not made. This limits the strength of this work and adds a lot of noise to the conclusions that we can draw from them.

Now, a team of researchers from the Universities of Washington and Harvard have looked for solutions to this problem to find out what we can expect from heat waves in the future. And those solutions, to tell the truth, are quite simple: unlike other approaches, these scientists have developed a probabilistic model that, using data such as “population growth, GDP and carbon intensity by country” estimates the emissions of CO2 in the middle (2050) and at the end of the century (2100).

Fig4 Extremely Dangerous Days

Heat waves throughout the century. The conclusions seem clear. “The unprecedented heat events of recent summers will be much more common in places like North America and Europe,” explained lead author of the paper, Lucas Vargas Zeppetello. And that we do not take the worst part. That’s reserved for “many places near the equator” where in “the year 2100 more than half of the year it will be challenging to work outdoors.”

However, according to Rodr√≠guez Camino, “the maps also show important mid-latitude areas, including the Iberian Peninsula, affected by a significant number of days with dangerous heat stress.” In fact, according to the researchers, “even if countries manage to meet the Paris Agreement goal and contain warming,” extreme heat waves will be three to 10 times more common in the US, Western Europe, China and China. Turn of the century Japan.

Almost two months of extreme heat. If we translate this into tangible data, it means that in Spain the days of the heat wave could bend in the scenarios that the model draws as most probable. It is still a probabilistic model; one very sensitive to what we do in the future. But it is still a central element in the design of future policies. It is increasingly urgent to ask, what happens, what do we do if what the models say is true? How do we prepare for it?

Image: GTRES

In Spain, yes; but also in the Baltic countries, in New Delhi, in Africain China, in the northwestern coast of…

In Spain, yes; but also in the Baltic countries, in New Delhi, in Africain China, in the northwestern coast of…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.