Drought and scorching temperatures expected in Europe and UK

Another heat wave is brewing in southwestern Europe, with the UK heading for high temperatures from this weekend, according to forecasters.

Temperatures in the UK will climb into the high 30s, and experts have warned that little rain is on the horizon to ease the record dry spell currently underway since the last heat wave that raised temperatures above 40°C for the first time. in history.

Annie Shuttleworth of the Met Office said The Independent that “very hot air” across continental Europe means temperatures can be 10°C higher than average in some areas.

“While not as extreme as recent heatwaves, persistent above-average temperatures across much of the Iberian Peninsula and southern France are likely to exacerbate ongoing heat-related problems,” she said.

Almost all of France is now subject to water use restrictions due to drought. The country is experiencing its third heat wave this summer, during which thousands of people were evacuated because of wildfires. Nearly 400 hectares have been burned since the weekend.

Spain is also in the grip of a “crippling” drought with crops such as avocados and olives affected. Along with Portugal, the countries face the driest conditions in 1,200 years, and more than 1,000 people died from excessive heat this summer. This week, temperatures are expected to reach 40°C again.

Meteorologist Scott Duncan tweeted a heatmap of Western Europe, writing: “Another significant heat wave brewing in Europe right now. This summer is just brutal.”

Speaking about the UK, Graham Madge of the Met Office said The Independent: “It’s been a rollercoaster the last three weeks.

“We had two big situations developing – one after the other. Record temperatures and then the continued lack of record rains in parts of southern England.”

“We will see temperatures rise towards the end of next week. Starting this weekend, we will have an area of ​​high pressure starting to form, and with that, temperatures, especially in the south and east, will increase.

“We are anticipating temperatures in the region of 30 [centigrade]. So not rising to the record levels we saw on July 19th. But it’s still hot.”

Wednesday afternoon forecast ahead of higher temperatures this weekend (Met Office/Screengrab)

As we approach autumn “the potential for intense heat is reduced due to the shorter days and the sun is a little lower in the sky. All these factors were at play two weeks ago, but now they have been scaled back a bit.”

In terms of the drought, Madge said: “We can’t see any significant rain for southern England within our short window, which is in the next seven to 10 days. Also, we generally expect stable conditions to prevail, which in summer means less rain. There can be intense bursts of rain if we have summer storms or that sort of thing, so localized areas can see – or even be impacted by – heavy rain.”

He added: “I don’t think there’s anything in the immediate forecast that puts us on the path to helping to recharge reservoirs or groundwater levels.”

A quick analysis by scientists after the record July heat wave found that the climate crisis made the event at least 10 times more likely to occur.

The research team led by experts from UCL and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London also said this is a conservative estimate as extreme temperatures in Western Europe are rising faster than predicted climate models. .

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