Holidaymakers across Europe are bracing this week for an unrelenting heat wave that will blanket parts of Italy and Spain with sweltering temperatures of up to 48 degrees Celsius.
A Sahara desert high called Cerberus will see temperatures soar above 40C in Mediterranean countries this week, prompting officials to issue heat warnings about the life-threatening risk of such excessive heat.
British tourists traveling to the Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily are expected to bear the brunt of the grueling heat, with temperatures reaching a near-record 48C.
This sweltering heat means that the Mediterranean is approaching its highest temperatures. The previous record of 48.8 °C was registered in the Sicilian city of Floridia on August 11, 2021.
“We know there will be temperatures above 40 or 45°C,” Professor Luca Mercalli, president of the Italian Meteorological Society, told The Guardian. We could get closer to the record. Either way, the levels will be very high.
The unrelenting heatwave is already sweeping holiday hotspots in southern Europe, with temperatures forecast to rise to 45°C in southern Spain and 44°C in Greece this week.
A woman cools off sitting in the sea during an Italian heat wave, in Naples, Italy, on Monday.
People cool off in the water jets at Madrid Rio urban beach in Madrid, Spain, on July 9.
Tourists enjoy the sun on the beach of Santa Giulia, near Porto Vecchio, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, on July 9.
Temperatures will rise to 42C in Cyprus, 38C in Croatia and those in France will be able to enjoy 37C heat later this week.
The intense heat is expected to last across the Mediterranean for about two weeks, forecasters say.
Italy will bear the brunt of the heat wave, with Sardinia and Sicily expected to endure temperatures of 48°C. Authorities yesterday began issuing warnings for nine major cities on the continent – Bolzano, Florence, Frosinone, Palermo, Perugia, Rieti, Rome, Turin and Viterbo – as Italians and tourists brace for attack.
It will be the first heat wave of the year in Italy, months after Italians had to endure storms, avalanches and floods that have killed dozens of people.
Italian meteorologist Stefano Rossi told La Stampa that it is no coincidence that the anticyclone bears the name of the three-headed dog Cerberus, who in Greek mythology guards the gates of the underworld.
“Metaphorically, the three heads indicate the three main climatic zones into which Italy will be divided,” Rossi said. He added that humidity levels across Italy will “shoot up” and that nighttime temperatures will not drop below 22C.
In Rome and Florence, the main hotspots for British tourists, temperatures could reach a sweltering 38C.
Forecasters also believe that temperatures could reach 48 degrees in Sardinia and 45 degrees in Sicily by tomorrow.
A boy dives into the water at Agios Sostis beach on the island of Serifos, on July 4. Greece will be affected by another heat wave this week.
People walk along the seafront in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on July 11 amid a grueling heat wave.
A man cools off next to a water fountain during a heat wave in Seville on July 10.
Women cool off as they sit in the sea during an Italian heat wave, in Naples, Italy, on Monday.
The heat wave originated from an anticyclone in the Sahara desert and has since begun to spread from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia towards southern Europe.
In Spain, the tourist hotspots of Granada and Córdoba to the south will see temperatures soar to 44°C and 45°C respectively in the coming days, with authorities issuing heat warnings to locals and tourists.
The heat wave will also bring temperatures of up to 43C to Mallorca on Tuesday.
The Red Cross has urged people to monitor those most vulnerable during high temperatures, such as children and the elderly, while asking them to stay hydrated and watch for signs of heat stroke, which can include vomiting and fainting.
Greece was also expected to reach sweltering temperatures this week, with the northern city of Larissa set to be covered in a 44C heat wave. In Athens, the National Observatory predicted that the city could see temperatures reaching 43C on Wednesday.
The heat wave in Greece will last six days and peak on Friday, but experts have warned that the extreme weather could cause wildfires that have been deadly in the past.
In a sign of just how concerned health officials are about the impending heat wave, the Greek government yesterday issued emergency meetings and asked employers to ensure staff do not work outdoors between noon and 5 p.m. in the coming days.
It comes after the World Meteorological Organization said the start of this month was the hottest week on record on the planet.
“The world has just had the hottest week on record, according to preliminary data,” the WMO said in a statement, after climate change and the early stages of the El Niño weather pattern led to the warmest June on record.
It is the latest in a string of record breaking mid-years that have already seen a drought in Spain and ferocious heat waves in China and the United States.
Temperatures are breaking records both on land and in the oceans, with “potentially devastating impacts on ecosystems and the environment,” the WMO said.
“We are in uncharted territory and we can expect more records to fall as El Niño develops further and these impacts will extend into 2024,” said Christopher Hewitt, WMO Director of Climate Services. “This is worrying news for the planet.”
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has said that “the situation we are witnessing now is proof that climate change is out of control.”
In addition to wilting crops, melting glaciers and increasing the risk of wildfires, higher-than-normal temperatures also cause health problems ranging from heat stroke and dehydration to cardiovascular stress.
New research published Monday found that more than 61,000 people died due to heat during Europe’s record-breaking summer last year.
Most of the deaths were in people over the age of 80, and about 63 percent of those who died from heat were women, according to research published in the journal Nature Medicine.
The world has warmed an average of almost 1.2°C since the mid-19th century, unleashing extreme weather including more intense heat waves, more severe droughts in some areas, and fiercer storms from rising levels. from sea.
The oceans absorb most of the heat caused by planet-warming gases, causing heat waves that harm aquatic life, disrupt weather patterns, and disrupt crucial regulatory systems on the planet.
In June, global sea surface temperatures hit record levels, while Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest point for the month since satellite observations began, 17 percent below average, breaking the previous record of June by a substantial margin.
While sea surface temperatures normally recede relatively quickly from annual peaks, they remained high this year, and scientists warn that this underscores an underestimated but serious impact of climate change.
“If the oceans are warming significantly, that has a knock-on effect on the atmosphere, on sea ice and on ice around the world,” said Michael Sparrow, head of WMO’s World Climate Research Programme.
“There are a lot of concerns from the scientific community and a lot of recovery from the scientific community trying to understand the incredible changes we’re seeing right now.”
El Niño is a natural pattern that causes increased heat around the world, as well as droughts in some parts of the world and heavy rains in other parts.
But Sparrow said its effects would likely be felt most acutely later in the year. “El Niño hasn’t really kicked in yet,” he said.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.