Heatwaves, heavy rain predicted to last longer

If the world warms by three degrees the Mediterranean and parts of Europe will wither in the summer's heat.

BARCELONA - Countries in the northern hemisphere can expect longer summer heatwaves as well as more consecutive days of heavy rain with harmful consequences.

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change said more hotter-than-average days would cluster together if the world warms by 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, lengthening the duration of future hot spells.

Global temperatures have risen by about 1C already and are on track for an increase of at least 3C if states cut climate-changing emissions in line with the plans they have made so far.

READ: July heatwave up to 3C hotter due to climate change

“Our study found that if the world warms to 2C above pre-industrial levels, we could see a significant shift in summer weather conditions from the patterns we know today," said lead author Peter Pfleiderer of research group Climate Analytics and Humboldt University.

"Extreme weather would become more persistent – hot and dry periods, as well as consecutive days of heavy rain, would all get longer."

The researchers found that if temperatures rise 2C, the chance of hot spells lasting longer than two weeks increases by 4 percent compared with today across the northern mid-latitudes, which include much of Europe, North America, and Central and North Asia.

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The probability of at least seven consecutive days of heavy rain would be 26 percent higher in that same zone.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently sounded the alarm over new data showing that July 2019 was the warmest month on record. He urged leaders to come to a September summit he will host with concrete offers to strengthen climate action.

Cities have sweltered through record-breaking heatwaves this summer in Europe, with several countries - from Britain to Germany and France - setting new temperature highs.