Every Other Summer Will Shatter Heat Records Within a Decade
Think of the stickiest, record-hot summer you've ever experienced, whether you're 30 or 60 years old. In 10 years or less, that miserable summer will happen every second year across most of the US and Canada, the Mediterranean, and much of Asia, according to a study to be published in the open access journal Earth's Future.
By the 2030s, every second summer over almost all of the entire Northern hemisphere will be hotter than any record-setting hot summer of the past 40 years, the study found. By 2050, virtually every summer will be hotter than anything we've experienced to date.
"In the last 10 years, summers have become noticeably warmer," said co-author Francis Zwiers, director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at Canada's University of Victoria. In 2017, California experienced its hottest summer ever that extended well into fall. In Europe, an incredible heat wave named "Lucifer" led to catastrophic forest fires in Portugal and a number of deaths. "Parts of China and East Asia are already experiencing record warm summers," Zwiers told me in an interview.
Record hot summers are now 70 times more likely than they were in the past 40 years over the entire Northern hemisphere, the peer-reviewed study found. What does all this mean? Heat alerts will be increasing, cities will have to employ aggressive cooling strategies most summers, and in places like South Asia, it will be too dangerous to work outside, he said.