Europe is "burning" - Unusually premature heat wave in many countries
Europe is facing the first and quite dangerous heat wave this year, earlier than usual, with temperatures above normal levels.
A high barometric pressure traps heat over Europe, bringing high temperatures from Rome to London for the entire week.
The heat wave, unusual for this time of year for Spain, started last weekend and now the temperature in almost the whole country has reached very high levels, in places up to 43 degrees.
According to scientists, the increase in heatwaves, mainly in Europe, is due to climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions increase their power, duration and frequency.
In the last ten months in Spain there have been four incidents with extreme temperatures: a heat wave in August 2021, when the country recorded the highest temperature (47,4 degrees Celsius in Montoro, in the south), temperatures "particularly high" between Christmas and New Year, a heat wave in May and the current wave.
A quarter of France has set an orange alert for heatwaves today, with temperatures expected to reach between 34 and 38 degrees Celsius, and locally even around 40 degrees Celsius.
The country has been hit by heatwave since Tuesday from the Maghreb passing through Spain, which initially affected the southwestern part of the country before it expanded.
Temperatures of 30 to 35 degrees Celsius were recorded yesterday Wednesday in the southern half of the country, and the heat is expected to expand further.
The French meteorological service Météo-France estimates maximum values of 34 to 38 degrees in the southern half of the country, with temperatures reaching up to 39/40 degrees in partial shade. It will generally be less hot in the northern half, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees.
The weather will be very hot tomorrow in a large part of the country, with the heat spreading to areas in the north and intensifying further west and south. Météo-France expects the highest temperatures recorded in the afternoon to reach 36 to 39 degrees in these areas, and locally thermometers can show 40 degrees in the shade.
The heatwaves attributed to climate change are multiplying around the world, including in France where the heatwave first appeared so early, as the 2017 and 2005 heatwaves began on 18 June.
The National Weather Service yesterday issued health warnings to citizens in various parts of the United Kingdom.
The warnings are valid from yesterday, culminating on Friday, when temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius are forecast in the south-east of England. The last time such a high temperature in the United Kingdom was in August 2020.
According to meteorologists, there is little chance of breaking the June temperature record in the country, which is 35,6 degrees Celsius in 1976 in Southampton, southern England. The high temperatures are due to the mass of hot air that will move north from Iberia and France.
For the south and central England a level two warning has been issued, out of the four on the scale, and for northern England a lower level one warning. The warning concerns the health authorities, in order to prepare for the possibility of increased episodes of heatstroke and other health problems in the population.
If the forecasts are confirmed, then on Friday areas in SE England such as London will be warmer than Cyprus or Jamaica.
"Forties" are also expected in Italy, which is preparing to protect vulnerable groups such as the elderly. "We do not wait for them to ask for help, we regularly call them to make sure they are well," explains a volunteer.
Meanwhile, temperatures are boosting demand for electricity and energy-intensive air conditioners, which in turn is boosting gas prices. Prematurely hot weather threatens grain production in countries such as France, Spain and Portugal, a development that comes amid the crisis in Ukraine. And next to them, it is the drought that affects crops and increases the risk of forest fires.
All this while we are in the middle of June. Summer is forecast to be long, hot and dangerous in Europe.