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Climate Change Powered the Mediterranean’s Unusual Heat Wave


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The early-season heat wave that broiled parts of Algeria, Morocco, Portugal and Spain last week almost certainly would not have occurred without human-induced climate change, an international team of scientists said in an analysis issued Friday.

A mass of hot, dry air from the Sahara parked itself above the western Mediterranean for several days in late April, unleashing temperatures that are more typical of July or August in the region. Mainland Spain set an April record of 101.8 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38.8 Celsius, in the southern city of Córdoba. In Morocco, the mercury climbed to more than 106 degrees Fahrenheit in Marrakesh, according to provisional data, very likely smashing that nation’s April record as well.

A three-day stretch of such scorching heat in April is already quite rare for the region in the planet’s current climate, with just a 0.25 percent chance of occurring in any given year, according to the new analysis. But it would have been “almost impossible” in a world that hadn’t been warmed by decades of carbon emissions, said Sjoukje Philip, a…

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