Humans To Blame For The Record Breaking Heat Waves This Millennium

  • Mary Nichols , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Jan, 27, 2016, 02:23 PM
Tags : science
(Photo : Getty Images/David Ramos) Humans, not nature, are to blame for the record-breaking heat waves that have been occurring around the globe since the year 2000.

Humans, not nature, are to blame for the record-breaking heat waves that have been occurring around the globe since the year 2000, according to a new study.

Since 1880, when reliable record keeping began, 14 of the 15 hottest years since records began have all occurred after the year 2000, writes Live Science. The new study suggests that the odds of natural climate swings causing these high global temperatures is between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 170,000.

Looking at temperatures occurring in 2014 alone, researchers calculate that there is a staggering one-in-a-million chance that nature climate variability was accountable for the heat record.

"The risk of heat extremes has been multiplied due to human greenhouse-gas emissions, as our data analysis shows," study co-author Stefan Rahmstorf said in a statement. "The anomalous warmth has led to unprecedented local heat waves across the world, sadly resulting in loss of life and aggravating droughts and wildfires," said Rahmstorf, a professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

The scientists looked at the factors influencing global climate change by analyzing real-world climate data and state-of-the-art climate models. During their statistical analysis they separated factors related to natural climate variability -- including the effect of El Niño on ocean temperatures -- from human-activity induced climate change. The analysis showed that in all cases, Earth's record temperatures had occurred due to human activities.

The researchers were driven to carry out their study after reading news reports published after 2014 relating to the recent global highs. According to the reports, scientists said there was only a small chance that the increasing numbers of record temperature years could occur without global warming.

"The press reports last year about the unlikely nature of recent global temperature records raised some very interesting questions, but the scientists quoted hadn't done a rigorous calculation," lead study author Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University in State College, said in a news release. "As a result, the probabilities reported for observing the recent runs of record temperature by chance alone were far lower than what we suspected the true probabilities are."

Since 2000, the record-breaking temperatures felt around the globe were found to be between 600 to 130,000 times more likely to have occurred due to human activities, the researchers report.

The study was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

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