SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Almost the entire global population saw temperatures rise from June to August as a result of human-caused climate change, according to a peer-reviewed research report published late on Thursday.
The Northern Hemisphere’s summer of 2023 was the hottest since records began, with prolonged heatwaves in North America and southern Europe causing catastrophic wildfires and skyrocketing death rates. July was the hottest month on record, while average temperatures in August were also 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Study by Central climateA US-based research group studied temperatures in 180 countries and 22 regions and found that 98% of the world’s population was exposed to temperatures at least twice as likely to be higher than due to carbon dioxide pollution.
“Almost no one on Earth has escaped the impact of global warming over the past three months,” said Andrew Pershing, Climate Central’s vice president for science.
“In every country we could analyse, including the Southern Hemisphere, where this is the coldest time of the year, we saw temperatures that would be difficult — and in some cases almost impossible — without human-caused climate change,” he said.
Climate Central assesses whether heat events are more likely as a result of climate change by comparing observed temperatures with those produced by models that remove the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.
It said up to 6.2 billion people experienced at least one day of average temperatures that were at least five times more likely to result from climate change, the maximum value in the Climate Centre’s Climate Transition Index.
Heatwaves in North America and southern Europe would have been impossible without climate change, said Frederik Otto, a climate scientist at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment.
“We looked at isolated heat waves,” she said. “It hasn’t been made five times more likely. It’s been made infinitely more likely because it wouldn’t have happened without climate change.”
(Additional reporting by David Stanway in Singapore and Ali Weathers in Copenhagen) Editing by Jerry Doyle
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