Climate change has increased by at least 100 times the chances of an episode of suffocating heat like the one that happened at the end of April and which particularly affected Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Algeria.
The projection forms part of an investigation by an international team of climatologists from the “World Weather Attribution” (WWA) network, which today published data from an “express” analysis of the relationship between climate change and high temperatures at the end of April in southwestern Europe and North Africa.
"This heat would have been nearly impossible without human-caused climate change" and temperatures were up to 3,5 degrees higher than they would have been in a non-climate emergency scenario, according to the report's authors.
Since 2015, this international network of scientists investigating climate change, with partners such as Imperial College London, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and the Red Cross Climate Centre, has been analyzing weather data. to identify links between the climate emergency and extreme events such as storms, heat waves and droughts occurring around the world.
At the end of April, parts of southwest Europe and North Africa recorded “extremely high” temperatures, never before recorded at this time of year, with maximums ranging between 36,9 and 41°C (degrees celsius) in the four countries.
“During the last week of April, some places in these countries registered up to 20 degrees above the average for the time of year”, according to the investigation, conducted by ten researchers from the WWA network, with experts from universities and meteorological agencies in France, Morocco, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
In mainland Portugal and Spain, the national record for the month of April was beaten in both cases “by a very wide margin”, with temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius, with a particular impact in the extreme south of the peninsula.
Also in Morocco, "several local records were broken for the month of April across the country", after temperatures reached over 41°C in some cities, and Algeria was also very hot, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees. in some places, at least on the 28th.
These record temperatures come on top of historic drought situations in these regions, aggravating the impacts of heat in areas such as agriculture, under the threat of an already growing water shortage, according to scientists.
The scientific analysis of heat in April took into account the average maximum temperatures of three consecutive days of that month (26, 27 and 28) in southern Spain and Portugal, as well as in most of Morocco and northwest Algeria.
As other investigations have shown, the scientists involved in the study alerted, in a press conference, to the fact that temperature extremes are increasing faster in Europe than predicted by climate models.
As long as greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed, temperatures will continue to rise and bouts of heat in anomalous periods will become "more frequent and severe", said Friederike Otto, of the "Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environmental”, which is part of the “Imperial College”, a British public university.