Scorching Europe: Record-breaking Heatwaves Raise Questions about Extreme Weather

Europe weather forecast: Map turns black on Spain and Portugal as temperatures reach 50C (Image: WXCHARTS)

Multiple heatwaves have been the focal point of the summer experienced in several countries across the European continent. Portugal and Spain, for example, have registered temperatures well over 40 ºC, and some governments have been forced to issue extreme weather notices in the face of draughts, raging wildfires and the rise in the number of heat-related deaths.

In a recent post published by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the institute’s directors, including CAFE research team member Florian Pappenberger, have discussed the nature of heatwaves and their impact.

Florian Pappenberger leads the Forecast Department at the European Centre For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

“Heatwaves lasting around one to three days can be due to the transport of warm air from lower latitudes, in the case of Europe often from the Sahara, together with local heating from solar radiation,” explains Dr. Pappenberger, Director of Forecasts at ECMWF. Heatwaves, as he clarifies, do not have one single explanation, and can be caused by several factors that can affect the duration.

The post also explores the role that climate change plays in the impact of such heatwaves, and how they relate to the droughts experienced in several parts of Europe since June.

You can read the complete article on the ECMWF website

The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe was provisionally reported on 11 August. The town of Syracuse on the Italian island of Sicily reached 48.8°C, 0.8°C higher than the previous European record.

This summer has been an exceptional event, very strong and very extensive.

In an interview with El País, Carlo Buontempo, climate change Director of the EU’s Copernicus programme and keynote speaker at the final conference for the CAFE project (27-29 of September, Barcelona), has issued a warning about the danger of torrential storms after an extremely hot and dry summer in Europe. His team has recorded exceptional impacts due to its severity and duration, as he explains in the interview.

‘’The other really exceptional fact, which worries me a lot, is the anomaly in the temperature of the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is boiling, the temperature is five or six degrees above normal’’, says Buontempo. These could have ramifications during the next months in the form of severe storms.

On July 24, the temperature in the Mediterranean reached a peak of 30.7°C off the coast of Alistro in eastern Corsica, according to the Keraunos meteorological observatory.
Carlo Buontempo leads the climate hazard and impact processes team at the Met Office Hadley Centre in Exeter (UK)

You can read the complete interview in Spanish at the El País site

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