Europe reeling under extreme heatwave; Temperature likely to surpass 48 degrees


New Delhi: Extreme heatwave continues to sweep across parts of Europe, with potential “record-breaking” temperatures in the next few days, as per the World Meterological Organization WMO.

Temperatures are expected to surpass 40 degree celsius in parts of Spain, France, Greece, Croatia and Turkey.

The temperature could reach 48 degrees in parts of Italy, becoming “potentially the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Europe”, said the European Space Agency.

A red alert warning is in place for 10 cities, including Florence and Rome.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that by 2050, about half of the European population may face high or very high risk of heat stress in summer.

According to WMO’s Regional Climate Centre for Europe forecast above-normal temperatures in the Mediterranean region at least during next two weeks, with weekly temperatures up to 5° Celsius above the long-term average.

“Weekly anomalies will be between +1 °C and +5 °C. Daily maxima will reach frequently above 35–40 °C in many places, in the Middle East and southeastern Türkiye locally up to 45 °C” it said.

“A further continuation into August is likely. There is an increased risk of heat stress and forest fires” said the Climate Watch Advisory.

The EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service warned of an “extreme” danger of fires in most of the Iberian Peninuslar, which a “very extreme” danger in parts of Spain,

“The extreme weather an increasingly frequent occurrence in our warming climate is having a major impact on human health, ecosystems, economies, agriculture, energy and water supplies. This underlines the increasing urgency of cutting greenhouse gas emissions as quickly and as deeply as possible,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

“In addition, we have to step up efforts to help society adapt to what is unfortunately becoming the new normal. The WMO community is providing forecasts and warnings to protect lives and livelihoods as we strive to achieve our goal of Early Warnings for All,” said Prof. Taalas.

Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) of the Mediterranean Sea will be exceptionally high over the coming days and weeks, exceeding 30 °C in some parts, and more than 4 °C above average in a large part of the western Mediterranean.

Nearly 62,000 people died in Europe last summer during an extreme heat wave across the continent, a study published in the science journal Nature Medicine and says that extreme temperatures this summer may lead to even more dangerous heat.

The study found that the top five countries with the highest summer heat-related deaths were Italy (18,010), Spain (11,324), Germany (8,173), France (4,807) and the United Kingdom (3,469).

Meanwhile, North Africa is also suffering high temperatures. For instance, the Moroccan meteorological service issued a red alert for extreme heat for southern parts of the country on 13 July, with maximum temperatures of 44 to 49° Celsius.

The US National Weather Service also said a widespread heatwave is intensifying in the southern United States, with high temperatures likely in numerous places.

“The heat will be highly dangerous and potentially deadly due to the intensity and longevity,” it said.

At least 93 million people are under Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories as of 14 July. Areas at risk in the southwestern USA include California, southern Nevada and Arizona.

In South-Central and Southeast USA, maximum heat index values could near or exceed (43° C). Many parts of Florida, including the city of Miami, have been hit by an extended, record-breaking heatwave.

In Canada, record-breaking wildfires continue to burn big forest areas. More than 500 wildfires were out of control as of 11 July.

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre more than 9 million hectares already burnt in 2023, compared to the 10-year average of about 800,000 hectares.


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