Original Published Date: 
Monday, July 6, 2020

Full article issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes.

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes have conducted the first comprehensive worldwide assessment of heatwaves down to regional levels, revealing that in nearly every part of the world heatwaves have been increasing in frequency and duration since the 1950’s.

The research has also produced a new metric, cumulative heat, which reveals exactly how much heat is packed into individual heatwaves and heatwave seasons. As expected, that number is also on the rise.

In Australia’s worst heatwave season, an additional 80°C of cumulative heat was experienced across the country. In Russia and the Mediterranean, their most extreme seasons baked in an additional 200°C or more.

“Not only have we seen more and longer heatwaves worldwide over the past 70 years, but this trend has markedly accelerated,” says ARC Future Fellow, Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick. “Climate scientists have long forecast that a clear sign of global warming would be seen with a change in heatwaves,” 

“The dramatic region-by-region change in heatwaves we have witnessed over the past 70 years and the rapid increase in the number of these events, are unequivocal indicators that global warming is now with us and accelerating."

Photo credit: 

Image: Pxhere (Public Domain).