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  • Firefighters are seen near wildfires in Alto de la Centenera, near Cuevas del Valle, Spain June 29, 2019.

    Firefighters are seen near wildfires in Alto de la Centenera, near Cuevas del Valle, Spain June 29, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 July 2019

Environmentalists warn Euorpean members to prepare for further weather irregularities as climate change becomes more obvious in the region.

Record-breaking temperatures, droughts and heatwaves across Europe represent the reality of climate change, the global conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said Thursday.

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The region hasn’t witnesses seasonal changes at this level since the 1940’s, researchers said.

In Germany, the temperatures have soared, hitting 40℃ (104 Fahrenheit), just under two degrees hotter than that recorded in 1947, the German Weather Service said.

Meanwhile “superfires” have continue to rage across northern Europe to eat away at a zone generally lush with foliage.

An average of 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) of forest are expected to burn every year in Europe, WWF Spain said that will cost the continent an estimated 3 billion euros (US$3.38 billion) annually.

Between 2017 and 2018, hard-to-extinguish superfires fanned by strong winds and updraft killed 225 people in Portugal, Greece and Spain, and are expected to worsen due to an inadequate allocation of resources from governments and rising global temperatures.

“The current policy regarding fighting wildfires, which is based exclusively on a system of extinguishment, is obsolete and inefficient in fighting a new kind of ‘superfires’,” said the organization's report. It called for more prevention measures, including better forestry management.

Environmentalists warn Euorpean states to prepare for further changes as extreme weather will occur more often and be even harsher.

Analyst Zeke Hausfather of Berkeley Earth said, “June 2019 will likely be the warmest or second-warmest June in all the global temperature data sets since records began in the mid-1800s.

“This further boosts an already near-record-warm start to the year, putting us on track for 2019 to be the second or third-warmest year on record.”

So far, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, the Czech Republic have released heat warnings for their most vulnerable, notably the elderly and children, recommending these residents avoid strenuous activity, drink lots of water, and avoid direct sun light.

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