Study: Climate change making Europe heatwaves more likely

Traffic queue for the Eurotunnel in Folkestone, south east England, Friday July 27, 2018. Britain sweltered through the hottest day of the year Thursday, as an unusual heatwave wreaked havoc on transport and hospitals. The Cross-Channel rail operator cancelled thousands of tickets after "extreme temperatures" caused major disruption to services. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
A view shows parched grass from the lack of rain in Greenwich Park, backdropped by the Royal Museums Greenwich and the skyscrapers of the Canary Wharf business district, during what has been the driest summer for many years in London, Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Britain is experiencing a severe heatwave which has prompted its national weather service to issue an alert for people to 'stay out of the sun'. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A view from Primrose Hill shows parched grass from the lack of rain during what has been the driest summer for many years in London, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Britain is experiencing a severe heatwave which has prompted its national weather service to issue an alert for people to 'stay out of the sun'. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
People enjoy the Bournemouth beach in Dorset, England, as the hot weather continues across Britain. Britain is experiencing a severe heatwave which has prompted its national weather service to issue an alert for people to 'stay out of the sun'. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
A view shows parched grass from the lack of rain in Greenwich Park, backdropped by the Royal Museums Greenwich and the skyscrapers of the Canary Wharf business district, during what has been the driest summer for many years in London, Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Britain is experiencing a severe heatwave which has prompted its national weather service to issue an alert for people to 'stay out of the sun'. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

BERLIN — Researchers say heatwaves of the kind currently being seen in northern Europe have become twice as likely due to climate change.

Scientists from the World Weather Attribution team said Friday they have compared observations and forecasts for the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland with historical records going back to the early 1900s. They concluded the likelihood of three-day stretches of extreme heat in those areas has increased at least two-fold.

The group, which works to determine if there's a link between weather phenomena and climate change, said current temperatures further north are so unusual there's not enough data to predict their future likelihood.

Erich Fischer, an expert on weather extremes at ETH Zurich in Switzerland who was not involved with the study, said the authors use well-established methodology and "their estimates may even be rather conservative."

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