Europe’s record-breaking heat wave last week, it turns out, was the emphatic conclusion to the hottest June ever recorded.
The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), a satellite agency that keeps tabs on Europe’s weather for the European Union, reported that the global average temperature for June was the highest on record for that month.
Average temperatures for most of France, Germany, and northern Spain during the heat wave were up to 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) above normal. Temperatures in France exceeded 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) on Friday.
“We knew June was hot in Europe, but this study shows that temperature records haven’t just been broken. They have been obliterated,” Hannah Cloke, a researcher at the University of Reading, told The Independent.
The agency’s findings caught the attention of climate-change scientists and public figures alike.
“European satellite agency concludes that June was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, our planet,” the author Bill McKibben tweeted.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retweeted McKibben’s message, adding, “Unless we act drastically now, it’s only going to get worse. What will that mean for our food, water, shelter, safety? We need a #GreenNewDeal. Now.”
Linking heat waves to climate change
A new study by researchers at the World Weather Attribution organisation concluded that climate change made last week’s heat wave at least five times more likely.
“Every heat wave occurring in Europe today is made more likely and more intense by human-induced climate change,” the scientists wrote.
Experts from the European satellite agency agreed with that analysis.
“Our data shows that the temperatures over the southwestern region of Europe during the last week of June were unusually high,” Jean-Noel Thepaut, the head of C3S, said in a press release.
“Although this was exceptional, we are likely to see more of these events in the future due to climate change.”
In July 2018, Europe experienced a similar heat wave, with temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius) as far north as the Arctic Circle.
A 2018 analysis reported that climate change made heat waves like that one five times more likely.
France’s previous national temperature record was set 16 years ago, on August 12, 2003, when 15,000 people across the country died in a severe summer heat wave. A study found that climate change made that 2003 heat wave twice as likely.
Overall, according to France’s national weather agency, the number of heat waves in the country has doubled in the past 34 years and is expected to double again by 2050.
“This increase in heat extremes is just as predicted by climate science as a consequence of global warming caused by the increasing greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and gas,” Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research told The Associated Press.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
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