SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Almost all of the world’s population experienced a warming from June to August as a result of human-induced climate change, according to a peer-reviewed research report published late on Thursday.
The summer of 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere was the hottest since records began, with prolonged heat waves in North America and southern Europe causing catastrophic wildfires and a spike in death rates. July was the hottest month on record, while average August temperatures were also 1.5°C higher than 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 had been exposed to temperatures at least twice as likely to be caused by carbon dioxide pollution.
“Almost no one on Earth has escaped the impact of global warming over the past three months,” said Andrew Pershing, vice president of Climate Science Central.
“In every country we could analyze, 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 generated by models that remove the effect of greenhouse gas emissions.
It said as many as 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 extreme value in the Climate Center’s Climate Transition Index.
Frederick Otto, a climate scientist at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, said heatwaves in North America and southern Europe would have been impossible without climate change.
“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 Stanaway in Singapore and Ali Withers in Copenhagen.) Editing by Jerry Doyle
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