The Greek prime minister has warned of tough times ahead as temperatures rise.
Europe is bracing for another heatwave in the coming days, pushing temperatures to record highs as an oppressive “heat dome” sweeps across the southern half of the continent.
It comes shortly after the planet recorded its hottest day since records began for the third time in just four days earlier this month. The US and China have also seen temperatures climb above 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in recent days.
Scorching heat killing millions of people around the world is fueled by a climate emergency. Scientists say the recent wave of record temperatures confirms the growing urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions as quickly and deeply as possible.
A series of severe and prolonged heatwaves has seen temperatures exceed 45 degrees Celsius in Greece, eastern Spain and parts of Sardinia and southern Italy’s Sicily in recent days.
European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) said Europe is experiencing its hottest summer temperatures on record, as a rising “heat dome” allows a mass of warm air to accumulate, it said on its website.
The heat dome happens When high-pressure circulation in the atmosphere favors a lid or cap, it traps hot air in place and creates large areas of heat.
Tourists use umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun at the Colosseum area (Colosseum) during an ongoing heat wave in Rome, Italy. Many places in Italy have seen consecutive days above 40C.
Stefano Montesi – Corbis | Getty Images News | Getty Images
ECMWF researchers said on Wednesday that “slightly warmer air from the north” from Thursday was poised to provide some respite. “However, this relief may be short-lived, as another period of extreme heat is forecast for the end of this week and early next week.”
Meteorologists in Italy said on Friday that temperatures in the center and south of the country are expected to reach record 40 degrees Celsius in the coming days, before a mass return of hot air early next week.
Temperatures in the Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily have soared to European records in recent days.
The hottest temperature in Europe was reportedly 48.8 degrees Celsius in August 2021 near the ancient city of Syracuse on the coast of Sicily.
Italian weather news service Meteo.it said Next week, a heat wave could push temperatures up to 47 degrees Celsius in the south and the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Sicily.
The Italian government issued red heat alerts for 23 cities on Wednesday, as temperatures soared across the country. This meant that only four of the country’s largest cities were not on red alert – which is issued when heat is so severe that the health ministry considers it a threat to the entire population.
Forest fires in Greece are slowly decreasing. Water bombers and reinforcements sent by Italy, France and Israel helped emergency workers battle the blaze, which destroyed a large swath of the forest this week.
Temperatures have risen across the country, but the mercury is likely to touch 45 degrees Celsius in the coming days.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned on Thursday that “tough times are not over yet”. Sky News. “We are facing yet another heat wave and possible strengthening of winds… full vigilance and full preparedness is required in the next few days,” he added.
Greece’s culture ministry said on Thursday that all archaeological sites and monuments, including the Acropolis, will be closed every afternoon until Sunday.
A woman walks with an umbrella in Plaza Mayor during an election campaign as Spain faces another heat wave on July 19, 2023 in Madrid, Spain.
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez | Getty Images News | Getty Images
In Spain, the state meteorological agency AEMET said During the last week of July, the scorching heat is likely to subside in most parts of the country, with temperatures falling below average.
It comes after a flurry of temperature records across the country on Thursday, with Malaga airport experiencing its hottest night since records began 70 years ago.
Temperatures at the airport did not drop below 31.6 degrees Celsius overnight, AEMET said saidnoting that it surpassed the previous record by 2 degrees Celsius.