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28th Oct 2021

World set to face “unbearable” heat waves due to climate change

Ellen Fitzpatrick

It’s not looking good at all.

The world is set to face “unbearable” heat waves in the coming years due to the impact of climate change.

If nothing is done to to combat this issue, experts have warned about record temperatures and deadly heatwaves that will only get worse.

“Climate (change) is sort of steroids for the weather. It’s loading the dice to make these sort of extreme events be more common,” Zeke Hausfather, a climate expert at the Breakthrough Institute in California told Channel News Asia.

Even the hottest place in the world, which is now officially Death Valley in California, will see extreme rises in temperature.

“If you look at the average temperature in Death Valley for a summer month (…) it has gotten much warmer in the last 20 years than it was before,” Abby Wines, spokesperson for the Death Valley National Park added.

For the second year in a row, this summer saw the area register registering heat of 54.4 degrees Celsius.

The World Meteorological Organization confirmed that it is the hottest temperature ever recorded with modern instruments.

And according to the US climate agency NOAA, July of 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.

Even in areas of the globe that don’t typically experience extreme heat, northern Vancouver saw temperatures rise above 40 degrees Celsius with the average death rate in the Canadian province doubling due to the heat.

Heat like this, and with it expected to worsen, is the reason behind more frequent and intense droughts, wildfires, storms, and even floods.

Not only is this heat damaging agriculture, livestock and the natural environment, but it has also proven to be fatal for humans.

“A flood is a few deaths, maybe a few dozen. We’re talking about thousands of deaths every time we have a very large extreme heatwave. And we know that these heatwaves are multiplying,” said climatologist Robert Vautard, head of France’s Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute.

If the world is to get hotter by only two degrees Celsius, a quarter of the world’s population could see heat waves like this once every five years, but it could be more frequent than that, according to a draft UN report.