Scientists have claimed that the scorching temperatures across Southern Europe – nicknamed ‘Lucifer’ because of its intensity – were made at least ten times more likely by climate change.
The study published by the World Weather Attribution research group further warned that if preventive action is not taken to tackle global warming, such ferocious heatwaves with temperatures soaring over 4 degree Celsius will become normal by 2050.
The scientists, from universities and research institutions in Europe and the US, also said that they are more certain than ever that human-caused global warming is a key driver of the alarming increase in temperatures.
According to the research, the Lucifer heatwave which struck south-east France, Italy and Croatia in early August, was made at least four times more likely by human-caused climate change.
The Lucifer heatwave saw temperatures fail to drop below 3 degree Celsius for three days and three nights in the hottest spots, and is believed to be the reason behind the 15 per cent rise in emergency hospital admissions in Italy.
Prolonged heat is known to be very dangerous to health and a severe heatwave in Europe in 2003 was linked to 75,000 deaths by subsequent analysis.
This summer's heat wave started on the Iberian Peninsula in June—unusually early— and fueled deadly forest fires in Portugal. In August and early September, temperatures hit record highs and contributed to crop failures in the Balkans. The hot conditions also contribute to a water shortage and rationing in Rome.