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Climate Wake Up Call: Europe Breaks Heat Records Again

In the second extreme weather event so far this summer, Paris, hit an all time record high on Thursday, after the recent, record breaking heatwave in June. This time, the thermometer hit an unheard of 108.6 degrees Fahrenheit (which is 42.4 Celsius) and, since 30 degrees Celsius is considered extreme heat in Europe, this is a truly astonishing stat.

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Human Toll High Across Continent…

While New York City might seem to experience a heat wave almost every summer, while perhaps not of the intensity we’ve seen lately, Europe, most definitely, does not.

In the second extreme weather event so far this summer, Paris, hit an all time record high on Thursday, after the recent, record breaking heatwave in June. This time, the thermometer hit an unheard of 108.6 degrees Fahrenheit (which is 42.4 Celsius) and, since 30 degrees Celsius is considered extreme heat in Europe, this is a truly astonishing stat.

The highest temps ever recorded also went into the books in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium causing extreme distress and discomfort and potentially dangerous conditions.

Climate-change Becoming More Likely As Cause

In the past 17 years, with records being shattered seemingly on a yearly basis, a trend has been noted, with all the most extreme temperatures occurring during that span. Climate change, due to the influence of mankind, is becoming more difficult to doubt as the most likely cause.

While a direct link is not 100% traceable, the statistical likelihood of more extreme events happening is clearly rising, according to experts. According to the climatology institute in Potsdam, Germany, the five years with the most extreme summer heat, since the year 1500, were all recorded since the year 2000.

The situation is considered life threatening all across Europe with London hitting record high temperatures, also.

When northern France has the same temperature as Death Valley in the summer, that is a serious and alarming trend. Not only because that is a standard for the most extreme heat on earth, but more so because Europe has, historically, a milder climate overall than much of the world, relative to its latitude.

While seeing the temperature rise to above 100 degrees in not uncommon in many parts of the USA, in particular the South and Midwest, as well as the deserts of the Southwest, Europe is buffeted and, in normal times, cooler in summer and warmer in winter, due to the influence of the Gulf Stream.

Death Valley-like Heat in Traditionally Mild Europe Sending Shockwaves

In Europe, unlike in the US, many homes and even business, in particular restaurants where tourists congregate during the summer months, do not have air conditioning. Even refrigeration of food is, in many home, much less of a “given” than here in the US. Many apartments have only small units and the internal temps are set warmer than would be the case in the US.

Partly cultural, with grocery shopping a daily ritual and fresh food a “must have”, this kind of extreme weather will be felt, in some ways, far more that an equivalent heat event in many parts of the US, such as we had last week on the East Coast.

This cultural expectation of mild weather is a real factor in the danger and seriousness of these events in Europe, making then even more concerning than similar situations like we had last weekend in the US. The UK’s national weather service went so far as to state that “Climate change has increased the likelihood and severity of heatwave episodes across Europe”.

In France, the ministry of health warned people to stay home and avoid commuting or travel of any kind, where ever possible.


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