Environment Research Says Heat waves will become stronger and more frequent until 2045

Heat waves will become stronger and more frequent in the next 30 years, particularly in regions such as South America, Africa and Europe, according to a study published Thursday by the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.

” Until 2040, the frequency of extreme heat events will increase, regardless of greenhouse gas (GES) emissions into the atmosphere, ” summarizes Dim Coumou of the Potsdam Institute that investigates the impact of climate change.

” In contrast, efforts to reduce GES emissions can greatly reduce the number of extreme episodes in the second half of the 21st century, ” says the researcher who has done this study with Alexander Robinson, from the Complutense University of Madrid.

The tropical regions will be the most affected, which has already been observed between 2000 and 2012, according to the study.

Exceptional heat waves, classified as 3 sigma events (which differs from the historical average of three standard intervals), such as hit Europe in 2003 or the United States in 2012, will affect double the zones by 2020, that is, 10% of the earth’s surface of the globe.

In 2045, 20% of the planet’s lands will be affected. For that year even more extreme weather events (5 sigma), as practically not known now, will affect 3% of the surface of the globe.

After this date, it will depend on the amount of GES that is emitted into the atmosphere. If the emissions are small and the concentration of GES in the atmosphere does not exceed 490 PPM CO2 equivalent, the number of extreme events will stabilize around the 2040 levels.

This means that by the end of the century, exceptional heat waves will become commonplace in the tropics, 50% of summers in South America and West Africa, and 20% in Western Europe.

But in the scenario in which emissions continue to grow according to their current trajectories, episodes 3 sigma will affect 85% of the areas of the globe in 2100, and episodes 5 sigma to 60%.

“These extreme episodes can have a very damaging impact on society and ecosystems, causing deaths linked to heat, forest fires, loss of agricultural production, ” Dim Coumou warns.