London, Nov 28: With the help of a new method to model heat wave magnitude, scientists have projected that extreme heat events are likely to increase both in severity and number during the next two decades.
"Even if global mean temperatures do not increase too much, we will see more extreme heat events," said one of the study authors Simone Russo from European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy.
"These will be hotter, longer, and more frequent," Russo warned.
The new method to model heat wave magnitude that the researchers developed takes both the duration and the intensity of the heat wave into account, and proposes an improvement to the existing index used to quantify heat waves.
The researchers also considered the 2015 warm weather, and compared it with the top 10 European heat waves since 1950.
The 2015 summer heat wave had a lower magnitude than that which occurred in the summer of 2003, but was comparable to other heat waves, the researchers said.
"Its largest anomalies (higher than average temperature) and duration were recorded in Switzerland in July, and Germany in August," Russo said.
The findings were detailed in the journal Environmental Research Letters.