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News > World

Climate Change the Culprit for European Heatwave: Expert

  • People cool off in the Trocadero fountains in Paris as a new heatwave broke temperature records in France, July 25, 2019

    People cool off in the Trocadero fountains in Paris as a new heatwave broke temperature records in France, July 25, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 July 2019

Paris is experiencing its hottest days on record, as are parts of Germany, Belgium and U.K. where experts say man-made greenhouse gases are raising temps to record highs. 

Paris’s temperatures registered above 40.4°C (104.72°F) Thursday, the first time since July 28, 1947, as extreme heat envelopes France and much of western Europe. 


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Temperatures even rose to 42°C (107.6°F) in the French capital, with moments at 43 (109.4°F,) according to EFE.

Breaking records in Lille and Reims, as many as 20 departments have been on red alert and another 60 on orange since Monday. Officials urge residents and visitors to take precautions against the deadly temperatures.

Five people have died across the nation during this heat wave, BBC reported. The government has restricted vehicle movement and banned the transportation of animals between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. in these colored zones.

The mercury registered record highs elsewhere in Europe this week. Accuweather reports that temps rose to 41.7°C (107.06°F) in Deelen in the Netherlands, the first time the country has experienced that temperature. Parts of Germany broke their newest record, registering 42.6°C (108.68°F,) Thursday. On Wednesday, Belgium set its all-time temperature high, as did the United Kingdom, Thursday. Temperatures there soared to above 38°C (100.4°F,) the second time in its history.

Rain and thunderstorms are expected for Friday and Saturday, which may provide the continent with some relief from the heat that currently affects Spain and Austria, too. However, Accuweather also reports possible flooding.

Europe’s July temperatures are a repeat performance from last month when records were broken in June throughout the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Andorra, Luxembourg, Poland and Germany.

While heat waves do occur naturally, Dr. Peter Stott from the Met Office told BBC this latest heatwave is the result of both "weather and climate acting in concert.”

The expert explained: "What we have at the moment is this very warm stream of air, coming up from northern Africa, bringing with it unusually warm weather … But without climate change we wouldn't have hit the peaks that we're hitting right now."

On Thursday, the humanitarian organization Oxfam warned that more than 15 million people are at severe risk due to drought in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, in the "Horn of Africa." 

Dr. Stott added, "research shows that with climate change (heatwaves) are likely to become more common."

The Met Office conducted a study last year that found that the UK was now 30 times more likely to experience heat waves, compared to the year 1750 because of "the higher concentration of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere."

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