A heat wave burns Europe | Smart News

A forest fire in Louchats, in the south-west of France, on July 17, 2022
THIBAUD MORITZ/AFP via Getty Images

A record heatwave is scorching parts of Europe this week, fueling wildfires and causing heat-related deaths.

The UK Met Office issued its first red extreme heat warning on Monday and Tuesday in parts of England as temperatures soared to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Today the UK tentatively recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time. Firefighters battled at least ten blazes across London, and the city’s ambulance service said call handlers were receiving around 400 calls per hour, per Sky News.

Transport was also disrupted across England. Flights were delayed at London Luton Airport after high temperatures caused a section of runway to heave. Trains have been delayed or canceled due to extreme heat, and officials have urged people not to use public transportation unless absolutely necessary, reports Mark Landler for the New York Times. Many homes in the country do not have air conditioning, according to the Time.

“We are not ready for this level of heat in the UK,” says Chloe Brimicombe, a heatwave researcher at the University of Reading, in a statement. “We lack cooling measures and tend to underestimate heat as a threat. When we think of heat waves, many of us imagine sunbathing on the beach rather than hospital beds. These temperatures pose a very serious threat to people’s health, especially the vulnerable. »

In Spain and Portugal, more than 1,000 people have died from heat-related deaths in recent days, per BBC News“Paul Kirby. Fires are ravaging parts of both countries as well as England, France, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia and Morocco.

“Climate change kills,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Monday during a visit to the site of three major fires in Spain, per AlJazeera. “It kills people, it kills our ecosystems and our biodiversity.”

Scientists have long warned of extreme temperatures due to human-induced climate change.

“Much to my disappointment, we were right,” writes Michael Wehner, who studies heat extremes at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, writes Andrew Freedman of Axios in an email. “In fact, if anything, these early projections of extreme temperatures were overly conservative.”

Tunisia and China also endured scorching heat last week. Tunis, the Tunisian capital, recorded a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit on July 13, breaking a 40-year-old record, by Nasa. Shanghai reported a temperature of 105.6 degrees Fahrenheit last Wednesday, tying his all-time local record, set in 2017.

“Climate change is driving this heat wave, just as it is driving all heat waves right now,” said Friederike Otto, a scientist at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London. . USA todayby Doyle Rice. “Greenhouse gas emissions, from burning fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil, are making heat waves hotter, longer and more frequent. Heat waves that were rare before are now common; heat waves that were previously impossible are now happening and killing people.