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expert reaction to an analysis of the human contribution to the July 2019 European heatwave, as produced by the World Weather Attribution and the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute

Research, published by World Weather Attribution (WWA), reports that human influence caused the July heatwave to be 1.5-3C hotter than it would have been in an un-changed climate.


Dr Michael Byrne, Lecturer in Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews, said:

“The World Weather Attribution team have found the fingerprints of climate change all over last week’s extreme temperatures. Although the impact of global warming varied between countries, every heatwave was made hotter and more likely because of climate change. The team used an established methodology combining weather models with temperature data to examine links between the extreme heat and climate change. In the study, different weather models produced slightly different results, but the overall finding was robust: last week’s heatwaves were strongly affected by climate change.

“We know without doubt that climate change will bring increasingly severe heatwaves to the UK, but also heavier downpours and more flooding. Now is this time to overall our infrastructure to handle the challenges ahead.”


Prof Peter Stott, Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution, Met Office Hadley Centre, said:

“This is yet another analysis hot on the heels of the one conducted on the record-breaking temperatures in France in June showing that human-induced climate change has substantially increased the likelihood of record-breaking temperatures, this time in July in other parts of Europe including the Netherlands and the UK.”


Human contribution to the record-breaking July 2019 heatwave in Western Europe’ by Vautard et al. is available on the World Weather Attribution website .


Declared interests

None received.

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