World

Climate change may spell hotter summers for southern Europe

BERLIN — Climate researchers are warning that Europeans should prepare for the return of heat waves like the one that hit parts of the continent this summer and say they could become a regular occurrence due to human-made climate change.

Hotter-than-usual temperatures in the Mediterranean region resulted in higher hospital admissions, numerous forest fires, and widespread economic losses between June and August.

Peak heat struck Italy and the Balkans for three days in early August, when temperatures remained above 86 Fahrenheit even at night.

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‘‘We found clear evidence of human influence on this summer’s record warmth — both in the overall summer temperatures and in the heat wave,’’ said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, a senior researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

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Van Oldenborgh is part of the World Weather Attribution team that published a study Wednesday concluding that greenhouse gas emissions linked to human activity have increased the chances of such heat waves greatly compared to the early 1900s.

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