June 15, 2024 1:06 am

European heat wave breaking records with little relief in sight

The intense heat gripping Europe won’t end soon and according to the European Space Agency bulletin, it has only just begun.

The prolonged sizzling temperatures in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Poland and more countries on the continent, are potentially the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Europe.

Rome shattered records on Tuesday with a high temperature of 108 F, according to Italy’s national meteorological service. The meteorological service also issued red alerts for extreme heat throughout southern Italy, and the islands of Sicily, and Sardinia with temperatures all above 40°C.

Italian meteorologists predict the brutal heat to continue, especially in the southern half of the country. Antonio Sano from Il Meteo weather service, told ABC News that the high pressure from Africa to the Mediterranean region is pushing air up directly from the Saharadesert, causing the heat wave.

“Today was the hottest day in Rome at 42 C. By the end of the week, we expect thunderstorms to cool the north of the country slightly, but temperatures in the south of Italy will continue to rise for the foreseeable future,” Sano said.

The Italian Ministry of Health is urging regions to increase house-call services so the sick and elderly don’t have to endure the heat and leave their homes. They also set up heat stations at hospitals for emergency cases.

Forecasters predict the historically high temperatures will continue to scorch cities across

European cities, such as Madrid, Seville and Athens, all reached temperatures of well over 100 F Tuesday, and also showed no signs of a cooling down throughout the rest of the week, according to forecasts.

European extreme heat tied to climate change

The ESA said such intense heat is due to global warming.

“As climate change takes a grip, heatwaves such as this are likely to be more frequent and more severe, with worse consequences,” the agency stated in the bulletin issued Tuesday.

PHOTO: A boy walks on the edge of a fountain in Milan, Italy, July 19, 2023.
A boy walks on the edge of a fountain in Milan, Italy, July 19, 2023.
Luca Bruno/AP

Climate experts warn that this trend of such extreme heat waves in the Northern Hemisphere have been growing since the 1980s, and are likely to continue. Dr. John Nairn, a Senior Extreme Heat Advisor at the World Health Organization, said the current heatwave in Europe, and around the globe is directly related to climate change.

“Climate change is causing the loss of polar ice, which leads to the weather pattern staying in one place,” Nairn said.

Other climatologists concur.

Dr. Kai Kornhuber, a research scientist at Columbia University in New York City, told ABC News the extreme heat can be attributed to human activities.

“The emission of greenhouse gases directly translates into a higher likelihood of such extreme heat weather events,” Kornhuber said Tuesday.

PHOTO: Florian Eberharter from Germany uses a fan to cool off as he queues to enter the Pantheon in Rome, Italy, July 19, 2023.
Florian Eberharter from Germany uses a fan to cool off as he queues to enter the Pantheon in Rome, Italy, July 19, 2023.
Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

He also said that circulation patterns have become more stationary, leading to persistent high-pressure systems, meaning the heatwaves last longer, and are more severe.

As the ruthless heat shows no signs of slowing down, tourists are adjusting their travel plans and daily schedules by staying indoors during the day.

Joe Sheridan, a college student from the University of Richmond in Virginia, just returned from a study abroad program in Seville, Spain. He said the daily temperatures were over 100.

“My friends and I did not go out much during the middle of the day. We took advantage of the cooler mornings and late evenings instead,” Sheridan told ABC News.

Some tourists are canceling their trips to heat-affected areas. A couple from Killorglin, Ireland, told ABC News they changed a planned trip to Malta.

“We have some health issues and did not want to go into the extreme heat. It would not be enjoyable for us to stay in the hotel all day,” Norma and Dave Waugh told ABC News. “It is more comfortable in Ireland for now, and we cango to Malta when it cools down.”

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