Deadly heat in Mexico and US made 35 times more likely by global heating

Deadly heat in Mexico and US made 35 times more likely by global heating


The deadly heatwave that scorched large swaths of Mexico, Central America and the southern US in recent weeks was made 35 times more likely due to human-induced global heating, according to research by leading climate scientists from World Weather Attribution (WWA).

Tens of millions of people have endured dangerous daytime and nighttime temperatures as a heat dome engulfed Mexico, and the large, lingering zone of high pressure stretched north to Texas, Arizona and Nevada and south over Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

A heatwave can be caused by several factors including a heat dome, which traps hot air close to the ground, blocking cool air from entering and causing temperatures to rise and stay high for days or weeks. In May and early June, the heat dome hovered over the region, breaking multiple daily and national records, and causing widespread misery and disruption, especially among the poorest and most marginalized communities.

Such extreme heat spells are four times more likely today than they were at the turn of the millennium, when the planet was 0.5C cooler, the WWA analysis found.

“Unsurprisingly, heatwaves are getting deadlier … we’ve known about the dangers of climate change at least since the 1970s. But thanks to spineless politicians, who give in to fossil-fuel lobbying again and again, the world continues to burn huge amounts of oil, gas and coal,” said Friederike Otto, co-author of the study and senior lecturer in climate science at Grantham Institute, at Imperial College London.



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