Europe heatwave: Why are temperatures on the continent soaring?

France hits all-time record temperature of 45.9C

INTRO: France has hit its highest recorded temperature - 45.9C (114.6F) - amid a heatwave in Europe that has claimed several lives. The new record was measured in the southern village of Gallargues-le-Montueux. Before this year the previous record was 44.1C during a heatwave in 2003 that killed thousands. Health Minister Agnès Buzyn warned that "everyone is at risk". France's weather service has issued an unprecedented red alert for four areas. Those are all in the south, but most of the country remains on orange alert, the second-highest level. Meteorologists say hot air drawn in from northern Africa is responsible, caused by high pressure over central Europe and a storm stalling over the Atlantic. (MORE)

Europe heatwave: Why are temperatures on the continent soaring?

EXCERPT: . . . As the mercury continues to rise, experts tell the BBC what is behind the heatwave. Why is this happening now? Heatwaves occur across northern Europe when high atmospheric pressure draws up hot air from northern Africa, Portugal and Spain, raising temperatures and increasing humidity. In this instance, the exceptionally hot air has come from the Sahara.

[...] A climate specialist at the UK's Meteorological Office, Grahame Madge, told the BBC that, while weather variations occur naturally, the world was around one degree warmer than pre-industrial levels and, as a result, extreme weather was becoming more likely. "Now when we get a heatwave, it is likely to be a degree or so more," he said. "They are still extreme events, but they are also becoming more frequent." The highest recorded temperature in Europe - 48C (118.4F) - was measured in Athens in July 1977, but on average the 20 warmest years since records began have all been within the past 22 years. The years 2015-2018 make up the top four, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

[...] Nations with hotter climates, such as Australia and countries in North Africa and across the Middle East - where summer temperatures can often reach 50C - can still struggle with extreme weather. "Their infrastructure might be able to cope with higher temperatures in general, but with anything away from the norm, everywhere struggles," Mr Madge said.

When asked how they keep cool in extreme heat, BBC colleagues living in Nigeria, Tanzania, Yemen and Brazil had the following advice for countries with more variable climates:

Clothing: Wear something loose and light, both in weight and in colour
Washing: Shower frequently in cool water
Stay hydrated: Consume lots of water
Towels: Carry a small flannel to soak in water and daub your face
Bedding: Sleep in thin cotton sheets
Ventilation: Open windows, close shutters and use fan

(MORE - details)
Don’t have much to add but this thread made me wonder if humans, their actions and influence, could have prevented/delayed an ice age. Surprised to find it may have happened....then again maybe not.

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