Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) see the extreme weather events in parts of Germany as evidence of permanent climate change. "Weather patterns that used to give us tolerable summer temperatures or a longed-for downpour are changing. And we feel this in the increasing intensity and duration of heat waves and days of heavy rain," PIK researcher Peter Hoffmann told the Rheinische Post.While there used to be an average of one heat wave of four days per summer in Germany, today there are already two heat waves of four days each on average, and in extreme summers such as in 2018 and 2019, there are even three or more, Hoffmann said. This is a "development that will very likely continue in the coming decades, but can also be limited in the long term by far-reaching climate protection measures," he said.
Climate change activist Luisa Neubauer called on policymakers to take "bold action" to combat climate change. "People and cities are not built for these climate disasters, the suffering is unbearable," Neubauer told the Rheinische Post. Three months before the federal election "would be the moment to show that you intend to get a grip on the crisis," Neubauer continued.Experts agree that much more needs to be done worldwide by 2030 if global warming is to remain well below two degrees, as agreed by almost 200 countries in Paris in 2015. The earth has already heated up by around 1.2 degrees compared to pre-industrial times.
In Canada, an extreme heat wave has led to numerous deaths since the beginning of the week. Police said Tuesday that 134 sudden deaths were recorded in the Greater Vancouver area. Canada's weather service recorded a nationwide temperature record of 49.5 degrees.
Responsible for the extreme heat in Canada and the northwestern United States is the phenomenon of the "heat dome" - the high pressure in the atmosphere holds the hot air in the region. According to weather experts at the Washington Post, the intensity of this heat dome is "so statistically rare that it can be expected, on average, only once every few thousand years." However, man-made climate change has "made this type of exceptional event more likely," the experts explained.A draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reported by the AFP news agency last week, warned that a global warming of two degrees compared to the pre-industrial era would put an additional 420 million people at risk of heat waves.
Image by Tobias Huemmer