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Current heatwave across US south made five times more likely by climate crisis

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The record heatwave roiling parts of Texas, Louisiana and Mexico was made at least five times more likely due to human-caused climate change, scientists have found, marking the latest in a series of recent extreme “heat dome” events that have scorched various parts of the world.

A stubborn ridge of high pressure has settled over Mexico and a broad swath of the southern US over the past three weeks, pushing the heat index, a combination of temperature and humidity, to above 48C (120F) in some places.

More than 40 million people in the US, including those living in the Texas cities of Houston, San Antonio and Austin, have been placed under excessive heat warnings, raising fears over the health of people vulnerable to the heat and placing Texas’s energy grid under strain from surging air conditioner use.

The heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans by the burning of fossil fuels made the extreme heatwave at least five times more likely, according to a recent analysis by Climate Central, a climate science non-profit. The punishing heat, which is forecast to linger further…

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