June’s historic heat wave breaks records in Europe

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A punishing early-season heat wave that plagued large swaths of Europe over the weekend is easing after recording hundreds of record high temperatures.

Temperatures between 104 and 110 degrees (40 to 43 degrees Celsius) were common from Spain to Germany. The most extreme temperatures compared to normal were concentrated in France, where monthly and even absolute records were broken.

Numerous events across France have been canceled in the unprecedented heat at the start of the season, particularly in the south-west of the country. In Paris, parks remained open overnight so people could seek relief in hot and generally unair-conditioned homes.

Berlin residents have filled the region’s lakes in an attempt to cool off. Amid high temperatures, Germans were urged to conserve electricity due to Ukraine’s war-induced energy shortage, although air conditioning was also relatively rare in the country.

The combination of a heat plume off the North African deserts and low pressure off the west coast of Europe pumping this warm air north fueled the intensity of the heat wave.

The heat has been accompanied by poor air quality and a number of large forest fires.

Spain devastated by wildfires amid record heat wave

The pre-summer heat wave marked the second in Europe since May, as human-induced climate change increases the frequency and intensity of excessively high temperatures. As Europe baked, parts of the United States experienced abnormally hot weather at the same time.

Given the persistent heat and sunshine near the solstice, the sea surface temperature in the Mediterranean Sea has increased. Near-shore readings of around 5 degrees Celsius (10 Fahrenheit) above normal help ensure that any cooling from warm air passing over the water is minimal while likely harming life Marine.

The heat wave started in the Iberian Peninsula last week before spreading eastward throughout the weekend. In Spain, it was called the hottest heat wave on record so early in the year.

The relentless heat wave will intensify across the southern United States this week

Heat records selected on Saturday

After many places exceeded 104 degrees (40 Celsius) on Friday, the heat wave peaked in France on Saturday, when more than a dozen all-time records were set.

According to Météo-France data, the national average temperature rose to 81.3 degrees (27.4 degrees Celsius) on Saturday, the hottest so early in the year dates back at least to 1947.

Among other places, all-time records have been reached in Biarritz, Rochefort Saint-Aignan and Tarbes, with respectively 109.2, 105.1 and 102.6 degrees (42.9, 40.6 and 39.2 Celsius). This was in addition to several places reaching all-time highs on Friday.

A high temperature of 110.1 degrees (43.4 Celsius) recorded in Pissos on Saturday was only 0.1 degrees Celsius below the all-time record there.

At least 200 monthly records were also exceeded across the country, including 107.4 degrees (41.9 degrees Celsius) in Cazaux, 104.9 degrees (40.5 degrees Celsius) in Bordeaux and 104.5 degrees (40.3 degrees Celsius) in Dax.

In Spain’s Basque Country, where temperatures have been scorching for most of the past week, San Sebastian reached 111 degrees (43.9 Celsius), demolishing the old all-time record, as shown in the graph below by climatologist Daniel Argueso.

Very hot too makes breakthroughs in Germany on Saturday, as temperatures topped monthly records in Wolfach at 97.7 degrees (36.5 Celsius) and Müllheim at 97.5 degrees (36.4 Celsius).

Selected Sunday Heat Records

The heat reached its peak on Sunday in Germany and neighboring countries. Several stations set all-time records, along with many other monthly marks.

A sample of Sunday’s heat records include:

  • Cottbus, southeast of Berlin, establishes a new historic record for any month of 102.6 degrees (39.2 Celsius). Dresden has also reached this mark.
  • Husinec in the Czech Republic reached 102.2 degrees (39 degrees Celsius), which was the hottest June day on record in the country.
  • Together Poland a new June recordwhen it reached 100.9 degrees (38.3 Celsius) in Slubice.
  • Switzerland had its hottest temperature in june, since it reached 98.4 (36.9 Celsius) in Beznau. This maybe it was warmer in other places.
  • Chambery, France, reached 98.1 degrees (36.7 degrees Celsius), one of several monthly records in the region’s northeast on Sunday.
  • Feldkirch, Austria reached 97.7 degrees (36.5 Celsius), the hottest in june for the Land of Vorarlberg.
  • On the edge of Europe, temperatures of 114.4 degrees (45.8 Celsius) and 114.1 degrees (45.6 Celsius) in Cizre and Silopi, Turkey, were close to June records.
  • A station in the east of France in Besançon recorded a historic low of 73.4 degrees (23 Celsius) overnight.

Slightly cooler weather over the weekend in Spain allowed more firefighters to help control a massive wildfire in the northwest of the country. At nearly 80,000 acres, the blaze is the largest on record in the country since at least 2004. It is one of several blazes in the country amid a blaze intensified by searing heat.

Other fires were burning across Europe, including several in France and Germany. Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate their homes in the German state of Brandenburg due to the fires. But the fires were largely under control on Monday after heavy rains, authorities said.

Although there is a pause in the worst of the heat for now, a further surge is expected in Central and Eastern Europe later this week. It is not expected to be this intense, but temperatures of 10 to 20 degrees above normal are still possible in some places.

Rick Noack contributed to this report from Paris and Loveday Morris from Berlin.