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Friday, May 24, 2024

Europe: new record temperatures

An exceptionally early and intense heatwave has set new temperature records in Europe, making June the hottest month on record for the continent, with an average temperature 2° Celsius above normal. High temperatures pose a major threat to health, agriculture and the environment, but early reports indicate that early heat and health warnings have limited the number of deaths.

These heat waves are in line with climate scenarios which predict more frequent, longer and more intense heat episodes when greenhouse gas concentrations lead to higher global temperatures.

The five days of exceptionally high temperatures followed days of record temperatures further east in Europe. According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), this resulted in the month as a whole being around 1°C warmer than the previous record for June, set in 1999, and around 1°C warmer than expected compared to the trend over recent decades.

Francereported a new national temperature record of 45.9° Celsius at Gallargues-le-Montueux on June 28, with two other observation stations also reporting temperatures above 45°C, the first time such a temperature has been exceeded since instrumental records began.

"45.9°C is a temperature you'd expect in August at Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California (which holds the record as the hottest place in the world)." Météo-France.

Spain also recorded temperatures in excess of 40°C from June 27 to 30. As a result, the risk of fire remains between very high and extreme levels in northeastern Spain. Spain's national meteorological and hydrological agency AEMET has published a detailed article on " The June 2019 heatwave in the context of the climate crisis".

Deutscher Wetterdienst reported that a new national temperature record of 39.6°C was set on June 30. 243 observation stations set new temperature records in June, many of them all-time highs, and 223 stations reported 35.0°C or higher.

According to the national meteorological and hydrological service ZAMG, Austria is set for its hottest June on record, 4.5°C above the long-term average and exceeding the temperatures of 2003.

More than half of Switzerland's observation stations measured new June temperature records on Wednesday. Out of 85 stations, 43 recorded record June temperatures, and six set absolute records. This included Davos at 1594 meters, with a temperature of 29.8°C. The heatwave in Switzerland peaked on June 30.

In the Czech Republic, a new national temperature record was set in June, at 38.9°C, in Doksany on June 26, and Poland also reported records. Hungary had its hottest June on record.

The June 25,the WMO's European Regional Climate Center, managed by the Deutscher Wetterdienst Deutscher Wetterdienst, published a report on "above-normal temperatures normal for the coming week in much of Europe".

Temperatures in Central Europe are expected to be between 3°C and 6°C above the long-term average, and between 1°C and 3°C above average in other regions, according to the regional center in Offenbach (Germany). Daily maximum temperatures are expected to exceed 30°C in most parts of the region for most of the time, and even over 35°C in some places.

He warned that drought could accompany the heatwave in some areas, particularly in Eastern Europe, while frequent thunderstorms with locally heavy hail are expected in Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe. There will be a risk of heat stress for vulnerable people and forest fires. 

The regional climate monitoring center provides reference information in pre-operational mode to national meteorological and hydrological services, which are responsible for issuing alerts and warnings in their own territories.

National meteorological and hydrological services in Europe are working closely with national and local authorities on heat-health action plans to protect human lives. These heat and health early warning systems have triggered the mobilization of civil protection services across the region, and WMO is stepping up its joint action with the World Health Organization to tackle the health risks posed by extreme weather events, including heatwaves, and air pollution, with a particular focus on urban areas. WMO also supports the Global Information Network on Heat and Health.