Claim: If no action is taken, extreme heat waves will become the norm by the end of the century

From the Joint Research Center:

Analysing heat waves – new index allows predicting their magnitude

JRC scientists have developed a new index to measure the magnitude of heat waves, in cooperation with colleagues from five research organisations. According to the index projections, under the worst climate scenario of temperature rise nearing 4.8⁰C, extreme heat waves will become the norm by the end of the century. Heat waves like the one that hit Russia in summer 2010, the strongest on record in recent decades, will occur as often as every two years in southern Europe, North and South America, Africa and Indonesia.

The Heat Wave Magnitude Index is the first to allow comparing heat waves over space and time. It takes into account both the duration and intensity of heat waves and can serve as a benchmark for evaluating the impacts of future climate change. Results also show that the percentage of global area affected by heat waves has increased in recent decades, and the probability of occurrence of extreme and very extreme heat waves is projected to increase further in the coming years.

The index is based on an analysis of daily maximum temperatures, which was carried out to classify the strongest heat waves that occurred worldwide during three study periods (1980-1990, 1991-2001 and 2002-2012). In addition, a combination of models is used to project the future occurrence and severity of heat waves, under different scenarios as established in the latest Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Taking into account the disastrous effects of the 2003 and 2010 heat wave events in Europe, and those of 2011 and 2012 in the USA, results show that we may be facing a serious risk of adverse impacts over larger and densely populated areas if mitigation strategies for reducing global warming are not implemented.

The paper:


127 thoughts on “Claim: If no action is taken, extreme heat waves will become the norm by the end of the century

  1. global warming butterfly will flap its wings and a heat wave will emerge somewhere on earth. Sounds like an adaptation of emergent phenomena, where have I heard that term before ?

    • Have the Warmist scientist ever said just how many ppm of CO2 it will take to overheat the earth. Is there a level or range they say it is game over, with the science being settled it should be an easy calculation. Perhaps some one should ask.

      • Philipoftaos,
        Not only do they not say that, but there has never been any measurement quantifying the amount of human-caused warming, out of the total 0.7ºC global warming over the past century+.
        If they can’t measure the amount of global warming supposed to be caused by human activity, then everything they say is just speculation, no?

    • Nothing wrong with models. They can be quite useful. But how about validating the damn things before using them? IMO, The current IPCC models clearly don’t come close to meeting even the most minimal standards for quality of prediction.

      • Wait. “Nothing wrong with models.” What? ALL climate computer models are fatally flawed, ignoring over 50 major factors that influence climate. They are ALL predicated on CO2 being the principle climate driver and water vapor being entrained by CO2 to augment ti effect.
        However, water vapor is part of a massive, global heat engine called THE WATER CYCLE that carries about 85–90% of the surface energy budget to altitude, where it is lost to space. And, if the climate does warm a little, this heat engine ramps up and moves energy even faster, being a powerful NEGATIVE FEEDBACK mechanism.
        Only larger factors, such as solar activity, solar cycles (the solar wind), and the ocean cycles can alter the climate, in response to which the heat engine reaches a new temporary equilibrium.

      • higley7,
        He said there is nothing wrong with models and he is correct. But he is speaking from an engineering perspective where one has to confirm ones models against real world measurements and determine that it does reflect a significant aspect of reality and certify the extent of that agreement. You aren’t disagreeing with him when you complain that the climate models are crap. You are both saying that the models used aren’t fit for purpose and should be cast upon the scrap heap of bad ideas!

      • Barry:
        Apples and oranges, you can’t compare the pre-satellite era to the post satellite era.
        Besides, the pre-satellite era is mostly cr@p because of the many documented problems with the ground based sensors.

      • higley7, it seems that you could be a climate scientist since you know things that they don’t.

      • higley7,
        Pay no attention to mr. ‘politicalscience’. He is only a high school graduate, presuming to understand things he doesn’t understand.

      • @Barry
        Funny how the data for a paper published in 2013 stops in about 2006. WUWT?
        What is the relevance of monthly means to heatwaves?

      • To Barry;
        If we had a set of measurements from 900-1300, what would that graph look like? My point is … my feeling is that is only half a graph at this point …..

      • Barry, that chart is part fictional. There were not enough stations, especially in the southern hemisphere, to develop a global average temperature prior to the satellite era. I would venture that in 1900 there were only a handful of stations outside of Australia and that it stayed that way for a long time. Ground coverage there is awful on the African continent today. In the northern hemisphere there are large gaps today and reliable SST data is only available from the satellites. Huge areas on some land masses do not have actual temperatures available. Infilling of data can be unreliable at best. The only reliable record of average global temperatures is the satellite record and I have read articles here and elsewhere that claim that the global average actually means nothing.
        Assuming it does, tho, there has been no measurable heating of the planet in almost 18 years and some data shows there has been a slight decrease since 2006. A lot of people at this site are skeptical of any chart that is put out by the U.S. government or the U.N.

      • Wow Barry, climastrology never ceases to amaze. That link is a joke. No citations and no explanation of the “data.” Where DIDN’T they have weather records in 1880? My guess would be most of the planet didn’t have a weather record until recently. It’s so easy to fool some people, all you need is a graph.

      • Barry:
        That chart did not come from the report you linked. Any wonder why warmists have a credability problem?

    • Everybody reading this will be dead by then anyways. “Its not the cough that carries you off, its the coffin they carry you off in”
      Cant remember wrote that.

    • Barry, your chart is misleading. Just looking at the chart one might think the temperatures are increasing and they are not. The reason there are more record breaking monthly high temperatures is because there are more new stations. For a brand new station every month is a record high temperature.

      • “The reason there are more record breaking monthly high temperatures is because there are more new stations. For a brand new station every month is a record high temperature.”
        Holy crap! What a great (deceptive but technically correct) way to claim new record-high temperatures (if this is actually the source of those periodic headlines announcing record highs).

  2. Since more than half of US states set their maximum temperature records prior to 1950, I have a hard time believing that heat waves are a “growing” problem.
    Honestly, I don’t see the value of any more papers about models. If they show that their models accurately hindcast every max temperature period in the 50 states, I’ll sit up and pay attention.

    • Exactly KTM. This study might not be an entirely awful idea, but it needs to go much further back in time instead of just using a couple of recent decades. Decades which are probably cherry picked to give the “proper” answer.
      File under “Sloppy Science” I think

    • Curve fitting will hindcast with very little error and zero skill to forecast the future.
      The current climate models, with tunable parameters are all a form of curve fitting. The fit is achieve by manually selecting the parameters until the model will hindcast. Thus the IPCC recognizes the models cannot predict, only project.
      A projection of a curve fit is statistically meaningless. It is fraudulent at best. The IPCC scientists know this, hold their noses and publish all the same. They know full well who pays the piper. When the music plays they must dance.

  3. Not the best time of the year to try to frighten people with a heatwave bugaboo.
    And that “climate sensitivity” keeps on dropping. And dropping.

  4. From the Global Warming Swindle, aired March 8th 2007, they stated that, as the evidence and population mounts against the AGW scare, the louder, more shrill, and more absurd their claims will be. And, as predicted… we have this and other recent desperate reports.

  5. A combination of models is used to project the future of heat waves.Well they must be right the models are never wrong are they.What a load of bollocks.

  6. Here’s my ” projection”…’ll get hot, it’ll get cold, it’ll get hot, it’ll get cold, itll rain, it’ll be dry, it’ll snow, it won’t snow blah blah blah.
    Where’s my grant?

  7. They love to pick about 1979 or 80 as a start point…I wonder why??
    However the Palmer modified drought index is the standard for US drought history…
    and it is backed by river and stream flow records.
    In order to get to this catastrophic warming of 4.8 C, the T graph will need to look something like this….
    Numerous (ignored in this study) peer reviewed reports have reported no acceleration in droughts or extreme storms.
    WUWT just showed another ignored report where heat waves and droughts correspond well with global ocean temperature patterns, primarily the AMO and the PDO, which have a complete cycle in well longer then a cherry picked 30 year term.
    If elections mean anything, funding for this kind of climate porn will stop.

  8. Here’s another claim. And I believe this one because it is uncommonly and brutally honest:

    Even if every single American biked to work or carpooled to school or used only solar panels to power their homes – if we reduced our emissions to zero, if we planted each of us in America a dozen trees, if we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what? That still wouldn’t be enough to counteract the carbon pollution coming from China and the rest of the world.

    John Kerry, United States Secretary of State and for those who may not have heard, a Vietnam war vet.
    Oddly, given that blunt honesty, he remains convinced China is willing to gut their industry and energy programs alongside the US and the EU if only we say the right words. Honest, but still an idiot.

    • Cement production is a major source of worldwide CO2 emissions, and I remember reading somewhere that China has produced more cement in the last 5 years than the total amount used in the history of the US.

    • dp 10:27; – thanks, appreciated.
      If I understand correctly – and, as a bum boatie, I may well not have understood – JK seems happy for the USA – the one global power, and custodian of free-markets [etc. etc. – you all know what the US (imperfections noted and excused, generally) is . . . . . . ] – to eviscerate herself in the name of keeping [non-climate-affecting] CO2 down, whilst other countries, some indifferent to US (& UK) values can build themselves regardless.
      I guess JK has a degree in – say, golf course management with ballet studies. Nothing like hard science, I suppose [can’t be bothered to Wikipedia, the well-known, irrefutable and Omni-accurate source, that you and I can add to . . . . . . . . . . . . ].

  9. According to the index projections, under the worst climate scenario of temperature rise nearing 4.8⁰C, extreme heat waves will become the norm by the end of the century.
    +4.8 degrees by end of century? That could come about by one of two possible scenarios”
    1. Sensitivity to CO2 doubling is enormous In fact higher than the highest range estimated by the IPCC. In other words, in to the real of “highly unlikely” by the IPCC themselves. Confirmed by observations to be much lower since a sensitivity that high would have exhibited itself as measurable and distinct warming over the last twenty years. Instead we have “the pause”.
    2. We order every oil and coal company in the world to burn everything they can dig out of the ground starting right now. I mean just dig it out of the ground and burn it as fast as physically possible ti doesn’t even have to go through a power plant or a combustion engine, just burn it.
    In other words, assume a temperature rise so far out of reality that it is meaningless, and then calculate results from it based on computer models that have gotten drought, flooding, sea ice, temperature, and (leaving the best for last) severe weather frequency and severe weather intensity wrong.

    • #2 won’t work.
      The effect of our radiatively cooled atmosphere is surface cooling for all concentrations of radiative gases above 0.0ppm.
      There will be no “less than we thought” soft landing for the hoax 😉

    • @ Steven Mosher
      November 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm
      Hello Steven.
      Considering the:
      “under the worst climate scenario of temperature rise nearing 4.8⁰C”
      and the actual reality about climate and climate change as it is up to now…..would you or would’t you agree with a statement as below:
      “A claim of a temperature rise nearing 4.8C (at this point) is actully an insult in human intelligence and a total disrespect towards the integrity of human enterprise towards learning and growing in knowledge.
      Is a claims that does not only try to take the rest for fools but actually demanding that the rest admit to foolishness by default.”
      If that seems to harsh a statement to you than let me make it easy, in case you contemplate a reply.
      “That claim (of +4.8C warming) is totally a ridiculous one……..and trying (continuing) to make some kinda of an estimation of its impact, so blatanly, is even more ridiculous, under the circumstances.”

    • They reinvent the wheel, because neither your index, nor the modified Palmer drought index, nor real world observations, drive the world to the CAGW, give me more money and power world, their masters have directed them to drive to.

  10. If my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.
    If my uncle had tits, he’d be my aunt.
    If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a streetcar.
    If pigs had wings they would fly.
    if wishes were horses beggars would ride.
    if we had ham we could make a ham and cheese sandwich if we had cheese.
    Etc, etc……

  11. All these long term projections which mean they won’t be around to wipe the egg from their faces, but not so confident in the shorter term, eh?

  12. how about one of thes Think (NOT) Tanks coming up with a headline like;
    “Periods of increased warming will result in bumper crops of; maize, potatoes, lettuce, beet. oranges (insert 1)”
    nah that just doesn’t line up for disaster funding does it?

    • roger,
      Or what if it is the same temperature in the day, but the night doesn’t cool off due to land use changes around the thermometer. Then we can claim it warmed due to some trace gas when it is really due to economic development of the land around the thermometer!

  13. Time for the world to wake up to the fact the IPCC and UN have been having them on. They are a massive con job, the grandest fraud in history.

  14. Extreme heat waves will become the norm by the end of the century…
    And each extremely normal heatwave will be unprecedented.

  15. This is a comment from a paranoid layman. I notice they use 11 year periods. Where have I seen that figure? That’s right , solar cycle. I wonder what artifacts might be generated by this coincidence?

  16. Magnitude of extreme heat waves in present climate and their projection in a warming world†

    Simone Russo, Alessandro Dosio, Rune G. Graversen, Jana Sillmann, Hugo Carrao, Martha B. Dunbar, Andrew Singleton, Paolo Montagna, Paulo Barbosa andJürgen V. Vogt
    DOI: 10.1002/2014JD022098
    An extreme heat wave occurred in Russia in the summer of 2010. It had serious impacts on humans and natural ecosystems, it was the strongest recorded globally in recent decades and exceeded in amplitude and spatial extent the previous hottest European summer in 2003. Earlier studies have not succeeded in comparing the magnitude of heat waves across continents and in time. This study introduces a new Heat Wave Magnitude Index (HWMI) that can be compared over space and time. The index is based on the analysis of daily maximum temperature, in order to classify the strongest heat waves that occurred worldwide during the three study periods 1980-1990, 1991-2001 and 2002-2012. In addition, multi-model ensemble outputs from the Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) are used to project future occurrence and severity of heat waves, under different Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP), adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Results show that the percentage of global area affected by heat waves has increased in recent decades. Moreover, model predictions reveal an increase in the probability of occurrence of extreme and very extreme heat waves in the coming years: in particular, by the end of this century, under the most severe IPCC AR5 scenario, events of the same severity as that in Russia in the summer of 2010 will become the norm and are projected to occur as often as every two years for regions such as southern Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Indonesia.

    • CMIP5… what a load of BS. There simply is no other way to put it. Anyone who uses or cites the DOE/LLNL GCM’s are a major league fool.

  17. This CAGE scam is becoming a joke…
    There hasn’t been a global warming trend for 18+ years and counting, and since the PDO entered its 30-yr cool phase in 2005, there is an excellent chance global temp trends could be dropping for the next 20 years as has been the case for the past three PDO cool cycles (1880~1921, 1943~1977 and 2005~):
    There hasn’t been a global warming trend for the past 18+ years (RSS), falling global temp trends since June 2000, and it doesn’t look like this will change anytime soon because:
    1) Weak solar cycles developing since 1996.
    2) Strongest 63-yr string of solar cycles in 11,400 years ended in 1996. (1933~1996).
    3) The next solar cycle starting 2020 could be the weakest since the end of the Maunder Minimum in 1715.
    4) The 30-yr PDO cool cycle started in 2005
    5) The 30-yr AMO cool cycle starts around 2020
    6) There are fewer and weaker El Nino cycles during a 30-yr PDO cool cycle and colder La Nina events.
    7) ARGO ocean temp data from 2003 shows little, if any, ocean warming is taking place.
    8) Even IPCC’s 2013 AR5 report admits severe weather trends have been flat for the past 50~100 years.
    It’s becoming PAINFULLY obvious that CO2’s ECS will be closer to 0.5C by 2100 instead of CAGW “best guess” ECS estimate of 3.0C~4.5C by 2100. Anything under 2C really isn’t a problem.
    CAGW is toast. In about 5 years, it will be laughed into obscurity.

    • I’m already laughing. Guess I’m ahead of the times. And thanks for the graph! That looked like a lot of work, but it’s quite instructive.

  18. This is assuming the science is right. As it is far from proven, then this statement is more akin to just climate change, not AGW. Disclaimer: My belief is we are in a climate shift.

  19. We base our findings on heat waves in Europe and the US between 2003 and 2012, lets not mention the dust bowl years. After all most of those that experienced those years have now passed, and we no longer teach history prior to the 60’s.

  20. ‘will occur as often as every two years in southern Europe, North and South America, Africa and Indonesia.’
    Will Australia be subject to heat waves every year? And they didn’t want to scare us, so omitted it?
    Don’t you just hate it to be excluded? \sarc

  21. Are they predicting anything as devastating as this/ “The Mayan civilization flourished till 17th century before Spain invaded the last independent Mayan city of Tayasal in 1697. However, some climate scientists believe that a massive drought struck the regions of the Classic Maya Civilization and persisted for 200 years from AD 800 to 1000, around the same period when the civilization collapsed.”

  22. 4.8 degrees. This is with the dreaded doubling of pre industrial levels of CO2 I assume. Plot that relationship on a graph and we get a line showing exponential growth of temperature for each new rise of CO2. The consequences of extending that logic is sufaces temperatures of Earth exceeding the surface temperature of Venus before CO2 hit 0.5% concentration! Extending the same logic in reverse says temperatures wouldn’t drop below 0.5C of 1850 levels if CO2 was eliminated completely from our atmosphere! Now can someone please catch one of these morons drawing their apocolytic graphs and publicly extend the line drawn in both directions to show how stupid they are!?

  23. I think extreme weather indices are a good thing. But they should go back 60 years at least. They are very informative because they show current trends. As predictions of the global temperature change are difficult a 2°C goal is a bad alarm bell. Decadal predictions of extreme weather are much more difficult because they sensitively depend on regional parameters. Such forecasts produce only noise.

  24. According to the index projections, under the worst climate scenario of temperature rise nearing 4.8⁰C, extreme heat waves will become the norm by the end of the century.

    No surface warming for 18 years and counting. Climate sensitivity being dialled down in recent years. The worst case scenario is computer driven drivel, the IPCC’s temperature projections have failed since their first report.

    • That’s a brilliant graph!
      So, apparently the IPCC becomes more and more confident as their predictions become more and more wrong. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
      A copy of this graph should be sent to every politician.

  25. Will these good folk be brave enough to enter into the period of “UNHOGENISED HEAT”. Because it was bloody hot at times when I was a kid in Central Australia. AND my grandfather told me it was even a hell of a lot hotter when he was a kid!!!!!!
    He died at 103 years and still said his period in Broken Hill in the early 1900’s were the hottest he ever experienced.
    AND – I am not surprised. They were burning coke and coal like it was going out of fashion in those days!!!!!

  26. Steven Mosher
    November 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm
    I dont know why they keep re inventing the wheel
    FOR TAXPAYER’S MONEY. It’s better than having to work for a living.

  27. I like to think that the comments sections on websites that cover the topic of climate are a snapshot of how the world is thinking. I have definitely seen a sea change, so let them come out with these reports, no one is listening anymore.

  28. I thought heat waves were going to be the norm by the end of the last century. This is kind of like chicken little crying wolf.

  29. What a wonderful escape clause: “…the strongest on record in recent decades…”. Was there any mention of when those previous decades were, and what the temperatures were then?

  30. Yet another “If…then” press release/research study.
    Here’s a few more that fit in the same exact category…
    “If a frog had wings, then it wouldn’t bump it’s ass every time it hopped.”
    “If the sun erupted, then Earth would be destroyed.”
    “If my aunt had balls…she’d be my uncle.”
    “If” is the ultimate out for these people. “Hey…we didn’t say it WOULD happen!…we only said this would happen if THAT happened. Just because THAT hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean we’re wrong!!!”

  31. Same same…as happened thousands of times in earth life cycle just someone cut out a 35 year chunk of the timeline instead of the WHOLE timeline to substantiate their argument or bolster someone’s political agenda… no doubt climate changes as has before and will again 😉

  32. In theory, if increased GHG forcing increases positive North Atlantic Oscillation conditions, some continental summer heat waves should be reduced. Heatwaves that can be associated with increased forcing indicators such as positive NAO and even developing La Nina conditions, being generated from short term solar forcings, should not spontaneously increase in frequency as a result of a moderate rise in global mean surface temperature, by whatever means. On longer scales than the short term solar forcing of heat waves like in 2003, 2010, and March 2012, continental drought and hence heatwaves are intensified during longer periods of weaker solar forcing that are resulting in El Nino episodes, and a warm AMO mode.

  33. Fascinating, they start their study period at the same time the PDO shifted from cold to warm and end it when the PDO shifts back to cold.
    Nothing like cherry picking when you want to bake a pie.

  34. Since we haven’t had a real heat wave in the Toronto area for several years and this is exceptionally rare, hopefully my great grandchildren will know what a heat wave is; for apparently, they won’t know what snow is?

  35. “Taking into account the disastrous effects of the 2003 and 2010 heat wave events in Europe, and those of 2011 and 2012 in the USA, results show that we may be facing a serious risk of adverse impacts over larger and densely populated areas if mitigation strategies for reducing global warming are not implemented.”
    What global warming?

    • Ummm….
      Ok. I know I’m old, but damn…2011/12 wasn’t THAT long ago.
      Exactly what were the disasters that were due to heat waves in the US during those years?

    • Hey, yours even shows past 2006! Thank you, Salvatore for that great (actual scientific) evidence against their claims. You’d think they would have considered all the records that existed before they programmed their model..

  36. The models assume CO2 is causing the accumulation of heat, and therefore increasing heat waves. But a historical perspective debunks that claim.
    Looking at heat waves our top climate scientists found the 30s experienced the worst heat waves in the USA. Read Peterson, T., et al. (2013) Monitoring and Understanding Changes in Heat waves, Cold Waves, Floods and Droughts in the United States, State of Knowledge. Bulletin of the American Meterological Society. June 2013, p. 821-834.
    The European and Russian heat waves were created by winter/spring droughts. Analyses of the Russian heatwave was that it was natural and similar heat waves happened periodically.
    Read 94. Dole, R., et al., (2011) Was There a Basis for Anticipating the 2010 Russian Heat Wave? Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 38, L06702.

    • That Peterson graph of decadal heat waves has the data on it, but the graph chops off the most extreme of the extremes, leaving a visual impression that the Dust Bowl years weren’t so bad. Here’s a properly scaled version I put on ICECAP last year:
      If someone cleverer than me knows how to post that in these replies, go for it – thanks.

  37. Lately, there have been more minimum temperature records broken than maximum records. Are they predicting just more extreme heat waves, or do they expect more cold waves to occur as well? They would be smart to cover all their bases so it’s harder to falsify their claims.

    • AGW alarmists have had a track record of claims that every anomaly of weather and/or climate is anthropological in nature and linked to CO2 pollution. That way they cover all bases. After every wild claim (complete with call to authority) that boggles the minds of the commoners, comes an ultimatum such as we saw above; “…we may be facing a serious risk of adverse impacts over larger and densely populated areas if mitigation strategies for reducing global warming are not implemented.”
      This is more simply stated as; “bend to green politics or it will be bad for you.”

  38. Well I’m quite sure these authors are experts, so I’ll take their word for it.
    But now to the crux of the matter.
    What is their prediction / projection / guesstimation / WAG /whatever, for what WILL happen if we DO do something ?? And it seems that this editor recognizes do do when it sees it.

  39. “””””…..Claim: If no action is taken, extreme heat waves will become the norm by the end of the century…..”””””
    A self correcting prophecy.
    If they become the norm, then they won’t be extreme.
    Problem solved.

  40. Of some note:
    Results of vote on bonds for new school based on taxes from a wind farm in Archer County Texas .
    Won by 7 votes only around 900 votes cast. $17,000,000.
    This important fact was withheld for the voters. The generators installed were refurbished.
    Scam aided by fraud.

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