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The Hot(test) Spots

  • By AMS Staff
  • Sep 25, 2023

1.     Far Eastern Russia
2.    Central America
3.    Afghanistan
4.    Papua New Guinea
5.    Central Europe
6.    Northwestern Argentina
7.    Queensland, Australia
8.    Beijing, China

— Regions most susceptible to “high-impact” heat waves, according to new research published in Nature Communications. Researchers looked at reanalysis data and historical climate model simulations, as well as extreme value statistics—which can estimate the return periods of rare events—to determine the regions where record-breaking temperatures are most likely to occur next, or in the near future. The study notes that areas that have not yet experienced an extreme heat wave are among the most vulnerable, as they do not have adaptation measures in place. Rising populations and limited healthcare and energy provisions are other criteria that increase the risk. “We identify regions that may have been lucky so far—some of these regions have rapidly growing populations, some are developing nations, some are already very hot,” says lead author Vikki Thompson of the University of Bristol (UB). “We need to ask if the heat action plans for these areas are sufficient.” The study also revealed that statistically implausible extremes—when a heat record is broken by an amount that seemed impossible until it happened—occurred in 31% of the world where there were reliable records between 1959 and 2021, with no identifiable spatial or temporal pattern, suggesting that “such record-smashing events could occur anywhere,” notes coauthor Dann Mitchell of UB. “Governments around the world need to be prepared.” [Source: University of Bristol]

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