Temperatures have soared to historic highs in many Western European towns this last week. Countries like Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have all be affected and are demanding their governments take action in combating the climate crisis.
This is the second extreme heatwave the continent has gone through already this year. The first occurring in June, breaking records.
Unfortunately, a lot of major European cities are experiencing the urban heat island effect, when concrete buildings and asphalt streets absorb heat during the day and emit it at night preventing the city from being able to cool down at all.
“We are observing weather since 1833 and we never experienced these kinds of temperatures,” David Dehenauw, chief forecaster at the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium.
While many have claimed it is difficult to scientifically link any kind of specific weather event to man-made climate change, meteorologists and others (including Johannes Cullmann, director of the Climate and Water Department at the World Meteorological Organization) generally agree climate change is causing more and more extreme weather events throughout the world.
“What we have at the moment is this very warm stream of air, coming up from northern Africa, bringing with it unusually warm weather. But without climate change we wouldn’t have hit the peaks that we’re hitting right now,” says Peter Stott of the U.K.’s national weather service.