Dubbed “Furnace Friday” in London, Friday brought temperatures that threatened a run toward all-time highs across much of Europe. It’s been an unusually hot summer for the continent, and this latest bout of extreme heat has ended up being the hottest in most locations.
It’s the longest heat wave in Europe since 1976, and although expectations for Friday’s heat were tempered somewhat by widespread summertime storms in Britain, places in mainland Europe still baked.
Over recent days and into Friday, numerous monthly records have fallen, as well as some all-time ones.
Among the notables, Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands posted their hottest temperatures ever recorded Thursday, 94.6 and 97 degrees (34.8 and 36.1 Celsius), according to Etienne Kapikian, a meteorologist based in France. The highest temperature recorded in the Netherlands, 100.8 degrees (38.2 Celsius) in Arcen, tied the national record for July, Kapikian said.
Paris itself sweltered through the hottest day of the year as readings rose to 97 degrees (36 Celsius).
If the heat wasn’t enough,huge wildfires are burningacross parts of Britain and in other regions. In Britain and Ireland, much-below-normal precipitation has been the norm of late — they are in the midst of their longest dry spell since 1961,writes meteorologist Mark Vogan,who forecasts for the region.
This morning’s weather map shows unusually strong upper-level high pressure ridging over Scandinavia. A storm system responsible for Friday’s widespread thunderstorms in Britain is also seen. (weathermodels.com)
Like other bouts of heat, this one’s intensity is at least partially linked to climate change. It also fits into an observed pattern of rising temperatures across Europe over recent decades. 2018’s barrage of heat, drought and fire was enough for Britain’s Met Office to write about it, asking whether this is “the new normal.”
Summer mean temperature anomalies over Europe from CRUTEM4 observations (black), climate model simulations from CMIP5 (red) and with only natural forcings (green). (Met Office)
Scientists who are part of the World Weather Attribution network, a group that seeks to quickly explain what climate change has to do with specific weather events,believe that the heat wave’s nature fits into the expected patternbut that there are also many unresolved questions. In the northernmost locations of this heat wave, near the Arctic, it is truly extreme.
“We estimate that the probability to have such a heat or higher is generally more than two times higher today than if human activities had not altered climate,” the group’s latest analysis concluded.
While a storm system moving through Friday is expected to cool parts of the region back toward what might be expected at this time of year and deliver much-needed rain, the pattern suggests more very hot weather ahead.
Hot high pressure is expected to remain strong over the Scandinavian region through the next week or so, and the best long-range forecasts tend to suggest that it may extend back into much of Europe with time.