Energy & Environment

UK, France brace for ‘heat apocalypse’

(SDIS 33 via AP)
This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region (SDIS 33) shows a wildfire near Landiras, southwestern France, Sunday July 17, 2022 . Firefighters battled wildfires raging out of control in France and Spain on Sunday as Europe wilted under an unusually extreme heat wave that authorities in Madrid blamed for hundreds of deaths.

British and French authorities are preparing for intense heat this week as the countries brace for what they call a “heat apocalypse,” which could lead to record-breaking temperatures.

In the United Kingdom, temperatures were forecasted to reach 41 degress Celsius, or 106 F, for the first time, with British authorities issuing a “red extreme” heat warning in a large part of England. If those temperatures are reached it would break England’s record-setting 38.7 Celsius, or 101.7 F, which was set in 2019.

France also issued its highest possible alert level along its Atlantic coast, with French authorities warning of a “heat apocalypse.” Temperatures are predicted to top 40 degrees Celsius or 104 F and the heat is expected to last until Tuesday.

“Climate change has already influenced the likelihood of temperature extremes in the U.K.,” Nikos Christidis, a climate attribution researcher at the U.K.’s Met Office, said in a statement. “The chances of seeing 40°C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence.”

He noted that the possibility of exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in the U.K. in a given year had rapidly increased.

The heat has been detrimental in other areas of Europe, with rapidly spreading wildfires in France, as well as Spain and Portugal, leading to mass evacuations. In response to the fires, France’s Interior Ministry deployed additional firefighters and water-bomber planes to the most severely hit regions.

“Full solidarity with firefighters and disaster victims,” French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne tweeted.

The degradation of air quality from the heat is also impacting life in city centers, with northern Italy still in a state of emergency due to one of the worst droughts in decades.

Tags Climate change Europe extreme heat extreme weather France United Kingdom Warming Weather
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