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Potential for nearly endless summer heat waves in the future

October 04, 2017; 11:54 AM

Even if global average temperatures rise only 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, some regions of the world may have summers that resemble one long heat wave.

However, if global temperatures rise to 5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, some populated regions of the globe will be close to unlivable, according to new research published in the journal Scientific reports.

The research team led by Dr. Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, who works at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, divided the globe into 26 regions to look at how heat waves will change for every 1 degree Celsius rise in global temperature.

What they found was that for every 1 degree Celsius rise during the summer there were an extra 14.8-28.2 heat waves, heat waves would average 3.4 to 17.5 days longer and that the peak intensity of these heat waves would be 1.2 to 1.9 degree Celsius hotter, according to Clex news.

"We were particularly surprised by the alarmingly fast increase in heatwave days in the tropics where some regions transition to an almost constant heatwave state with just a 2°C rise," said Perkins-Kirkpatrick.

"We also found that even with just a 1.5°C increase in global temperatures, almost all regions started to experience heatwave events every four years that once only occurred every 30 years. If global temperatures were to rise by 5°C such events would occur every year."

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Link to the actual study.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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