On average, there are now five times as many record-breaking hot months worldwide than could be expected without long-term global warming, shows a study now published in Climatic Change.
In parts of Europe, Africa and southern Asia the number of monthly records has increased even by a factor of ten.
Eighty percent of observed monthly records would not have occurred without human influence on climate, concludes the authors-team of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Complutense University of Madrid.
If global warming continues, the study projects that the number of new monthly records will be 12 times as high in 30 years as it would be without climate change.
“Now this doesn’t mean there will be 12 times more hot summers in Europe than today – it actually is worse,“ Coumou points out.
For the new records set in the 2040s will not just be hot by today’s standards.
“To count as new records, they actually have to beat heat records set in the 2020s and 2030s, which will already be hotter than anything we have experienced to date,” explains Coumou.
“And this is just the global average – in some continental regions, the increase in new records will be even greater.”