Europe Experiencing Record-Breaking Heatwave

Authorities have declared the extreme heat as a "national emergency."

Authorities have declared the extreme heat as a “national emergency.”

Territories across western Europe, as well as nearby countries such as the United Kingdom, are currently in the midst of a record-breaking heatwave, with temperatures reaching as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to the moderate summers the region typically experiences, this is an unprecedented leap, and the heat is sparking off major disasters.

Wildfires have already sparked off in France, Spain, and Portugal, with the damage from all three having claimed several hundred lives and injured hundreds more. Even outside of the full-on wildfires, health officials in multiple countries are advising residents to be on the lookout for heatstroke symptoms. Due to the aforementioned moderate summers, many residents, particularly in southern Britain, do not have air conditioning systems installed in their homes, making them particularly vulnerable to the heat.

Temperatures are expected to remain above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for at least the next several days, with British authorities issuing the first red-level heat warning in the country’s history. According to climate scientists, the cause of this unexpected heat wave is global climate change.

“We hoped we wouldn’t get to this situation, but for the first time ever we are forecasting greater than 40°C (104°F) in the UK,” said Nikos Christidis, a climate scientist with the UK’s Met Office. “In a recent study we found that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK has been increasing and will continue to do so during the course of the century.”

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