It is highly likely that man-made climate change is a major cause of the heatwaves seen in 2018, reports Katharina Wecker of Deutsche Welle. Human activity has already warmed the globe by around 1 degree Celsius. Scientists from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute believe that climate change doubled the likelihood of heat waves happening. Similarly, it also had a major hand in Hurricane Harvey and previous global heatwaves. Data from the early 20th century, when there were far fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, shows that rates of hot days have gone up significantly. This trend is only going to grow from here.
While many heat records have been set in the summer of 2018, this cannot solely be blamed on climate change with absolute certainty, argues Irineo Cabreros. Global weather trends are highly complex and influenced by a multitude of factors. Planetary orbits and ocean currents are arguably as influential as human activity. In order to confidently say that heat waves are caused by climate change, much more data, gathered over long periods, will need to be analyzed. Hot stints, like cold ones, don’t mean that much, as they can happen for very natural reasons. Climate change is real, but we must be careful with blaming it for weather events.