Extreme heat breaks temperature records across Europe

Extreme heat breaks temperature records across Europe

The United Kingdom on Tuesday provisionally recorded its hottest-ever temperature reading, with the mercury rising above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time. A temperature of 40.2 C was recorded at London Heathrow shortly before noon GMT, according to the Met Office weather service. The record-breaking day follows the UK’s warmest-ever night, with temperatures in some regions remaining above 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) from Monday to Tuesday, according to the Met Office. The 40 C mark was announced shortly after the day’s first record-breaking reading of 39.1 C was provisionally recorded at Charlwood in the southern Surrey region. The UK’s previous all-time record high of 38.7 C (101.7 F) was set in 2019. Tuesday’s record could be broken again as the day goes on, with temperatures expected to continue rising in the afternoon.

On the other side of English Channel, several towns and cities in France recorded their highest-ever temperatures on Monday. Saint-Brieuc, on the normally temperate coast of Brittany, topped 39.5 C. The western city of Nantes recorded 42 C, beating a decades-old high of 40.3 C set in 1949.
In southwestern France’s Gironde region, two large wildfires raging for a week across dry pine forests have forced the evacuation of 32,000 people. The blazes have already destroyed a total of 190 square kilometers (more than 70 square miles) of forest. Fire officials said strong winds and heat are fanning the flames, despite the deployment of waterbombing aircraft.

Germany’s weather service (DWD) said Tuesday that parts of the country’s west could crack the 40 C mark, putting the all-time temperature record of 41.2 C recorded in 2019 within reach. The DWD said the extreme heat is centered on the Western states of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, especially including low-lying areas on the Rhine and Ruhr rivers. Areas of Germany have also raised forest fire alert levels. In 10 of Germany’s 16 states, predominately in the south, west and northeast, the highest of five alert stages has been issued. The Bavarian forestry minister has called on the public to be especially careful when walking through forests, warning that even a single cigarette butt can ignite an inferno.

The climate emergency is making itself
felt across Europe record-breaking
temperatures are fueling wildfires
burning out of control across huge
swathes of France Germany France Greece
Portugal Spain and Italy many of these
areas are also suffering severe drought
the heat wave has now moved Northeast
reaching as far as the United Kingdom
which has recorded a temperature of just
over 40 degrees Celsius for the first
time since records began the extreme
conditions have caused hundreds of
deaths across Europe most from the
effects of the heat but also including
several people killed by fires in Spain
Spain is on fire
with more than 70 000 hectares of land
already going up in Flames this year
residents of this town in the
Northwestern province of Zamora were
battling on Monday to stop their homes
being next
but an attempt to dig a trench to stop
the approaching fire almost came to a
deadly end for one local man after his
Digger was engulfed in flames
it’s gonna do
fortunately he was able to make a narrow
escape and was taken to hospital with
serious Burns
elsewhere in the province passengers
also had a close encounter with the
fires when their train made a brief
hair-raising stop in the countryside
with Emergency Services battling fires
all across the country
tens of thousands have been forced to
evacuate
many know they will have little to come
back to
we know for example that our house is
completely burned we also had a van
arranged to travel
we bought the van when I retired and now
it’s totally squashed
we have nothing
visiting affected areas in extra Madonna
Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez
said climate change was to blame for the
devastation
I want to say that evidently climate
change kills it kills people kills our
ecosystem and biodiversity
in France too authorities are struggling
to deal with record-breaking wildfires
in the southwestern gerund region two
fires have already burnt through more
than 17
000 hectares of forest within the last
week
strong winds have helped fan the Flames
with firefighters unable to bring them
under control
but weather forecasts do offer some hope
of respite with temperatures set to drop
in Western France as the extreme heat
wave moves East
DW correspondent Barbara basil is in La
Testa book near Bordeaux in the south of
France Barbara we just saw how wildfires
have been raging in southern France
what’s the situation where you are
the fires are still burning we’re in a
little spot that has not burnt yet the
police has blocked a large area around
where the fires are still raging so we
couldn’t get access yet we’ll try again
later of course but what you see behind
Mir is the typical Pine Forest of the
area and more than a hundred square
kilometers of this have already burned
down because these fires have been
raging now for almost a week and if you
look behind me you think this is nice
and green but you look at all this stuff
on the forest floor it is Tinder dry and
it just goes up like like nothing you
don’t even need a spark the fire is
driven by strong winds and that’s the
problem at the moment because the
temperatures have let up a bit we had
more than 40 degrees here yesterday
today it’s down to 30ish so it’s more
bearable and of course it’s a bit easier
for the firefighters but the wind makes
their life incredibly difficult because
the fire jumps from one side of a road
to the other that jumps across the
brakes they’re trying to create and so
they haven’t yet really managed to
control the fires
so how are they going about this Barbara
trying to fight fires on this magnitude
under those conditions with the top
winds must be extremely difficult
it’s extremely difficult plus the
firefighters of course are getting tired
they’re almost weak now that they’re out
here they sleep of course they work in
shifts but it’s very difficult there’s
almost 2 000 firefighters out here
trying to get to grips with these big
fires and they have planes of course
they have equipment they they are not
they’re not really lacking in the
technical side but it is just extremely
difficult on the ground because the
fires are simply going from one side to
the other within seconds and they have
to sort of reorient and and also try to
stay safe almost 40 000 people in this
area here have now been evacuated last
night the the camping places that are
closed down by the seaside close down to
the big and famous June the Pilar it’s a
huge big Sand Dune have completely been
raised by fires this is a place that’s
very traditional and well loved for many
French vacationers and so cheers were
shed then of course because they had to
see that it’s all gone up in flames and
we’ve seen several deaths in Spain
caused by the fires there what’s
happening in France or the people who
are in the path of these wildfires
the French authorities have really been
trying to be cautious and they have
evacuated people good and early
yesterday for instance they evacuated
the whole zoo that is uh near to the
town La Testa where we are in the
vicinity of they’ve brought all the
animals closer to Bordeaux and they’re
sitting now there in the shade and
waiting for what will happen to them and
people of course have been forcibly more
or less been evacuated by the police
police and army went in there and sort
of cleared whole areas and whole
Cartiers of this vacation Paradise that
it usually is normally this is where
people from Bordeaux and even from Paris
spent their summer normally but this
year there is no vacationing here it’s
it’s everybody takes through their cars
and they’ve just got to flee take their
stuff grab and run because it is so
dangerous but so far the caution of the
French police has paid it has sort of
been positive and they don’t didn’t have
yet any any victims of the fight hours
but we don’t know yet what will happen
so it’s not over
thank you very much for now that was our
correspondent Barbara basil there near
Bordeaux
well the heat wave has now reached the
UK DW correspondent Jack parrick is in
London and joins us now Jack just how
hot is it there
it’s extremely extremely hot to be
honest with you Terry we’re actually
quite worried about our equipment in
this heat it sort of keeps on uh going
over over the temperatures that are
really workable I think where I am right
now is somewhere in the 36 37 degrees we
know that it’s tipping over 38 in many
parts of the south of England and the
prediction from the Met Office which is
the the weather scientific organization
here in Britain reckons that
temperatures good could go over 41
degrees Celsius this is unprecedented
extreme heat for a country which is
simply not accustomed to this kind of
temperature
Jack UK infrastructure really isn’t
built to deal with temperatures like
this how much disruption is this heat
wave expected to cause in the UK
yeah there’s a there’s a lot of train
stations that have closed we know that
Luton Airport the runway there has got
so hot that it needed to be repaired
that all flights were canceled uh that
there is still movement in this country
people are being advised not to travel
to ease the pressure as much as possible
on trains on buses where there isn’t the
kind of levels of aircon air
conditioning that you might see in
hotter countries in the south of Europe
or for for instance in the Middle East
where you can see behind me I’m here
outside the Tower of London though and
there is still a lot of tourists out and
about but must be said that most of the
people that I’ve spoken to here outside
this tourist attraction are from abroad
they are not Brits that have made their
way to London to see that to see the
capital but rather people that have come
from abroad to visit the country and
therefore are still braving the heat to
to visit attractions like this in London
now there have been warnings about the
impact of this heat on vulnerable people
we’re talking about the elderly and the
infirm in particular uh what’s being
done to keep them safe there in the UK
well people are being told that they
should be making sure they’re in contact
with their relatives the NHS has stepped
up the the Health Service here has
stepped up its preparedness for any
cases like this they say that everybody
should be looking out for one another
firstly but making sure that they’re
hydrated staying indoors staying out of
the sun especially as we get into the
afternoon it’s expected that it’s gonna
stay very very hot until the early
evening and then temperatures are
predicted to drop off somewhat and
Wednesday should be markedly cooler up
to 10 degrees Celsius cooler than what
we’re seeing today so the these two days
yesterday Monday and today Tuesday these
are the days where this heat wave is
really hitting the UK
Jack thank you so much go find some
shade of course but a jack perock there
outside the Tower of London
let’s get a weather expert’s perspective
on this Matthew capucci is a
meteorologist and a journalist at the
Washington Post in Washington DC Matthew
thanks for being with us again the U.S
is no stranger to wildfires and record
heat how’s the situation been there
really things aren’t too bad here right
now but we’re expecting temperatures to
jump to about 45 Celsius over the Great
Plains of the United States now we talk
about Dallas Texas for example
temperatures have hit 100 degrees
Fahrenheit roughly about 37 38 Celsius
for 13 days so far this month
temperatures really almost record
territory here mashing what they’re
seeing overseas in Portugal Spain and
parts of the United Kingdom
when you look at what’s happening there
in the U.S and what Europe is
experiencing right now what goes through
your head I mean there was we also saw
extreme temperatures in India too not so
long ago do you see a pattern here
most definitely in China the other day
saw a record dew point meaning a record
amount of moisture in the air all this
bearing a sign of climate change let’s
talk about the UK briefly for example
they’re expecting to hit 40 Celsius you
say 104 Fahrenheit which is an all-time
record there but the most impressive
part with this is that right now this is
roughly once in 100 to 300 year event by
the end of the century it thinks that
human-induced climate change it could be
once every 10 to 15 year event made 10
times more likely thanks to climate
change so heat waves getting worse
getting longer getting more severe and
having a much higher human impact
now the um you know you do you think
that extreme conditions like this could
become the norm in places like the UK
that are really not used to it
that’s a really good point you know
these conditions we’re seeing right now
in the UK might be normal for a place
like Dallas Texas or Houston or even
Phoenix Arizona but they’re most
certainly not normal for the United
Kingdom only about five percent of
people there have air conditioning and
six percent of people are over the age
of 80 meaning vulnerability is through
the roof that’s one of the big issues
we’ve seen so far with about 1500 people
dead from the Heat and more excess
mortality unfortunately likely so
climate change is causing conditions to
outpace our ability to maneuver
infrastructure wise that’s what we’re
seeing so yeah this will become both the
norm and we’ve got to adapt to this we
might need to start putting AC in places
that never have had air conditioning
before we might need cooling shelters in
places that never had heat waves before
things are getting worse for a lot of
folks who are On The Fringe of how high
temperatures get and we’re seeing the
impacts in real time
well adapting to these extreme weather
events requires seeing them coming of
course if we don’t know what’s on the
way it’s very hard to prepare for it are
meteorologists like yourself and climate
researchers getting better at predicting
these extreme weather events
we most certainly are even about seven
days in advance as early as say July 8th
we could see the signal for what’s
called a cut off low essentially a low
pressure system pinched off the jet
stream that would stall west of the
Iberian Peninsula now here’s the thing
speeds counterclockwise meaning in the
Eastern side it just pumps heat
northwards into Spain Portugal France
and the UK we saw that as early as like
the 7th or 8th of July only now are we
seeing those record temperatures really
reach the UK about what 11 12 days later
so the fact that we saw this coming is a
good thing hopefully folks took it
seriously the red warning was issued
three or four days in advance by the UK
Med office so the prediction is not
really an issue it’s more about how we
jump from the prediction to actual
implementation of Emergency Management
procedures and really the mitigation we
need to protect folks from episodes like
this
Matthew thank you so much as always that
was meteorologist Matthew capucci in
Washington DC
thank you
as meteorologist Matthew capucci there
well as Germany also deals with record
summer temperatures senior officials
from around 40 countries have gathered
in Berlin to discuss how to tackle the
impact of the climate emergency the
meeting comes ahead of this year’s U.N
climate Summit in Egypt the so-called
Petersburg climate dialogue which ends
today was hosted For the First Time by
Germany’s foreign Ministry
Let’s cross over to our political
correspondent Nina haza who is covering
that meeting Nina this conference is
laying the groundwork for cop 27 the
global climate Summit scheduled for
November what did the delegates in
Berlin agree on
well no decisions were were made at this
meeting but this was probably one of the
last opportunities for some 40 countries
to have Frank and open discussions on a
very high level before that important
climate conference so ministers could
talk to each other listen to each other
and not just the lower level negotiators
and foreign minister Angelina babak said
that the idea was that ministers
reminded each other of the urgency to
act because you do have to keep in mind
that many countries have written down or
are writing down their pledges how they
intend to fight the climate crisis so
all the legal texts are in place but of
course there’s currently a multitude of
crises for many countries and they are
all linked to each other the effects of
the covert pandemic Rising energy and
food prices the implications of Russia’s
war against Ukraine and despite all this
said foreign minister Baba climate
action is more necessary than ever
now world leaders are promising not to
sacrifice climate protection when
plugging the Gap in energy supplies
resulting from the war in Ukraine right
now but How likely is that will
Europeans really care much about where
their energy is coming from Nina if
their heating systems are threatened
this winter
it is an immense test for the
International Community and it is of
course a huge challenge also for the
rich countries to really put their money
where their mouth is so countries like
Germany are tremendously dependent on
Russian gas still and they are paying
the price right now for short-sighted
energy politics in the past so Germany
is trying to radically reduce its
dependency on Russian gas and non-fossil
fuels in general but if houses are to be
kept warm in the winter then they do
need solutions for the transition period
and quick ones and that of course
includes sticking with fossil fuels
longer than intended and that is
something where some of the poorer
countries are saying well if Germany and
other rich countries are not getting rid
of fossil fuels how can we get that
impetus that we need for that green
energy transition period and that is a
tough question to answer
Nina thank you very much our political
correspondent Nina haza there
and for more on this extreme weather
let’s bring in Lorenzo Labrador he is a
scientific officer with the World
Meteorological organization he joins us
from Geneva welcome to the program and
thank you so much for your expertise
this morning to what extent does uh uh
excuse me forecasters are predicting
Britain could see 40 degrees Celsius for
the first time is extreme heat The New
Normal even that far north
uh well what we know is that evidence
suggests that uh the severity frequency
and duration of heat waves is
exacerbated by climate change so we tend
to see heat waves happening more often
uh being longer in duration and having
more extreme temperatures than they used
to before the 1950s 1960s so it probably
is The New Normal yes okay you know
there might be some people out there who
say listen I have air conditioning I can
just stay inside for a couple of days
maybe this this doesn’t really
um affect me as as much as as others who
are exposed to the heat but we
understand extreme heat also affects air
quality and eventually Public Health
more broadly
walk us through why that is
okay yeah we have already a very good
present which is during the 2003 heat
wave that affected most of Western
Europe there were 70 000 excess death
related to just the heat alone
uh on top of that you have like the high
pressure conditions that is associated
with heat waves tends to trap
atmospheric pollutants in the lowest
reaches of the atmosphere where people
live basically increasing levels of air
pollution furthermore the heat plus the
insulation the sunshine tends to be
conducive to higher ozone episodes near
the ground as well and ozone is a known
long irritant and can lead to
cardiovascular disease as well so these
are just two of the extra ways in which
heat waves can impact human health and
to what extent do you see climate change
exacerbating these extreme weather
events
we see that first off in the uh modeling
studies that the science that the
climate change scientists have been
carrying out for a number of years they
suggest that we’d increase in greenhouse
gas emissions the temperature in the
atmosphere will continue to increase
basically making these heat waves more
extreme longer and more frequent and
we’re seeing that to an extent in the
way that temperature uh record
temperature highs are increasing and
record temperature lows are decreasing
mostly across the world in particular in
Western Europe those uh heat waves are
becoming far more prevalent that they
used to do to a combination of
atmospheric conditions and climate
induced change a human-induced climate
change thank you so much Lorenzo
Labrador as we mentioned scientific
officer at the World Meteorological
organization in Geneva we appreciate it
thank you for having me
.

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