Thankfully, the heatwave is coming to an end this week across western Europe, with temperatures returning nearer to normal. But this may only be a temporary reprieve, as forecast models are already hinting at an area of significant heat taking hold across Iberia by the start of next week.
The extent of the recent heatwave across parts of central and western Europe has been widely reported. Temperature records have been broken and, in France and parts of Spain, it is the earliest point in summer during which a heatwave of this magnitude has been recorded. A temperature of 39.2C (102.6F) observed in Cottbus, Germany, also came within 0.4°C of the June record. Large fires, resulting from parched vegetation, are ravaging parts of Spain. The observed heat is very much in line with the predictions of scientists in that heatwaves in Europe will occur earlier and with greater ferocity due to climate change.
In the US, too, many central parts have been enduring extreme heat, a trend that began in the western states and since moved to areas such as the Great Plains. High pressure has been the cause, allowing a large body of heat to remain over the continental US, cumulatively increasing its ambient temperature day on day. Recently termed a “heat dome”, its area of influence has extended further into the south-eastern states, and during the coming few days, extreme heatwave warnings are being issued to areas including Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Through Tuesday and Wednesday this week, it is likely that temperatures will break 38C (100F) and potentially even 40C (104F) in a few spots, some 10-12C above normal for the season. Should this occur, it is likely that date records will be reached, and perhaps even all-time high temperatures recorded for these locations.
It is not just the extreme heat that is causing concern, but also the fact this coincides with the high levels of humidity moving north from the Gulf of Mexico. The heat index – essentially how hot it will feel when humidity is taken into account – could be 43C (109F) and the US National Weather Service is likely to issue heat advisories.
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( Information from theguardian.com was used in this report. To Read More, click here )