Record summer heat and fires in Europe – visible | climate crisis

Guardian analyzes have shown that Europe has already suffered a record amount of fire damage in 2022, as the continent plunged into extremely high – and in some cases unprecedented – temperatures.

In July, fires hit several countries across Europe. While Londoners were shocked when Dozens of properties were damaged in the fires In last week’s heat wave, firefighters in Portugal, Spain, France and Greece were battling Forest fires across tens of thousands of hectares.

map of europe fires

These are part of a record-breaking fire season across Europe this year.

info from Eves It shows that as of July 23, just over 515,000 hectares (1.27 million acres) of land have been burned across the European Union. This is four times the average recorded since 2006, and nearly double the previous record seen during this time.

Chart showing how 2022 is a fire record for Europe

The scale of these fires can be seen in satellite data provided by Planet Labs. In La Teste-de-Buch, France, hundreds of hectares of forest have been burned as fires spread all the way to the ocean and neighboring towns.

Satellite image of France’s fire

In Spain, rural Salamanca has seen some of the most worrying fires, and these fires can also be seen in satellite images provided by Planet Labs.

Authorities said the fires may have been started deliberately, although the dry, sun-drenched wooded hills were easily consumed once the fires started. The majority of the Iberian Peninsula is still highly vulnerable to fires after two heat waves have been recorded since the beginning of summer.

Satellite image of Spain’s fire

Guardian analysis of temperature data since 1980 from optical transita commercial provider of weather data, found that seven of 28 European capitals, including London, Rome and Dublin, reached 40-year highs for June, July or both.

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London experienced its hottest temperature ever on July 19. 40.2C has been widely reported to have been recorded at Heathrow, but that number is still provisional pending “a site and equipment assessment to ensure there are no anomalies with either,” according to a Met Office spokesperson. The 39.8°C figure in Visual Crossing data still exceeds London’s July high of 36.1°C, first reached in July 2019.

Five other capitals, including Paris and Madrid, came within 0.5 degrees Celsius of their previous monthly highs.

Although many capitals of the European Union have so far escaped record temperatures this summer, wildfires have swept through other regions of the countries. The extent of fires indicates the devastating effects of prolonged anomalous temperatures and dry conditions, regardless of whether the temperature records are broken or not.

Source: visible transit, temperature data since 1980. Except for a few numbers from 1990, 1991, 1993, 2005 and 2020 that are not verified

Scientists He told the Guardian newspaper The role of human-caused global warming in such hot weather is clear, and research shows that the chances of breaking 40°C in the UK without it would be less than 0.1%.

Dr Frederick Otto, from Imperial College London, said 40°C “would have been extremely unlikely or nearly impossible without human-caused climate change”.

info from Land/ocean temperature record for Berkeley It shows that recent years have seen record differences from the global average temperature recorded between 1951 and 1980.

In 2016, global temperatures were 1.05°C above this average – a record high in data going up to 1,850. All 13 of the hottest global temperatures in the data have occurred since 2000.

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Differences in global temperatures over time

Scientists say the temperature is 40 degrees Celsius in the United Kingdom It can happen every three years If emissions are not reduced.

The Met Office’s chief of science, Professor Stephen Belcher, said: “If we continue under a high emissions scenario, we could see temperatures like this every three years… The only way we can stabilize the climate is by achieving net zero.” .. almost. “

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