Rapidly increasing likelihood of exceeding 50 °C in parts of the Mediterranean and the Middle East due to human influence

18 June 2024

As the world warms, extremely hot days are becoming more frequent and intense, reaching unprecedented temperatures associated with excess mortality. Here, we assess how anthropogenic forcings affect the likelihood of maximum daily temperatures above 50 °C at 12 selected locations around the Mediterranean and the Middle East. We adopt a risk-based attribution methodology that utilises climate model simulations with and without human influence to estimate the probability of extremes. We find that at all locations, temperatures above 50 °C would have been extremely rare or impossible in the pre-industrial world, but under human-induced climate change their likelihood is rapidly increasing. At the hottest locations we estimate the likelihood has increased by a factor of 10–103, whereas by the end of the century such extremes could occur every year. All selected locations may see 1–2 additional months with excess thermal deaths by 2100, which stresses the need for effective adaptation planning.

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