European heat-wave length has doubled since 1880, study says

The average length of Europe’s sultry heat waves has doubled since 1880, researchers say, from an average of 1.5 days to an average of three days. By analyzing historical records from 54 stations across the continent — then correcting for an upward bias in earlier decades due to thermometers not being shielded from direct sunlight and indirect radiation — the team found that extreme temperatures are getting extremer; they wrote up their findings in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. “These results add more evidence to the belief among climate scientists that western Europe will experience some of the highest environmental and social impacts of climate change and continue to experience devastating hot summers … more frequently in the future,” said lead researcher Paul Della-Marta of the University of Bern in Switzerland. “[They] provide observational support to climate modeling studies showing that European summer temperatures are particularly sensitive to global warming.”