Sizzling Europe establishes global warming, say experts - GulfToday

Sizzling Europe establishes global warming, say experts

Heatwaves

German residents fight the unusual temperature by choosing to sit by the lake in Bad Saulgau, southern Germany, at the weekend. Agence France-Presse

A British record high temperature, 38.7°C (101.6 Fahrenheit), may have been reached on Thursday, provisional data from the UK Met Office showed on Friday.

Soaring temperatures broke records in Germany, France and the Netherlands on Thursday, as a heatwave gripped Europe for the second time in a month.

The Met Office had said on Thursday that the second highest temperature ever in Britain had been recorded in Cambridge, England, at 38.1°C (100.58 F).

However on Friday, the agency announced a new provisional figure of 38.7°C, recorded at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

That would beat the country’s previous record high of 38.5°C (101.3 F), recorded in August 2003.

“The temperature recorded yesterday at Cambridge University Botanic Garden will require quality control and analysis over the next few days and if validated, would become the highest temperature officially recorded in the UK,” the Met Office said in a statement.

Heatwaves are extreme weather events, but research shows that as the planet warms they are likely to become more frequent.

Met Office projections show that heatwaves with the intensity of last summer could occur on average as regularly as every other year by the middle of the century.

Nordic countries may have escaped the worst of Europe’s latest heatwave, but drivers in Finland face another danger as moose in search of a drink wander into traffic.

Police issued a warning to motorists after a record number of reports of drivers crashing into moose in the past week, as the thirsty animals seek new sources of water after hot weather caused their usual ponds and drinking places to dry up.

“This particular time of the year it is quite warm. This makes the animals move further for water, and they may cross roads,” Captain Joonas Tikka told AFP on Friday.

Young calves born last year are particularly at risk.

“Calves grow independent this time of year, and as they are ‘inexperienced’, they may act unexpectedly,” Tikka said.

In the last week, police in the country’s southwest have received 140 reports of road accidents involving a moose, which equates to around one every hour.

“I can’t remember a single other July where we’ve had this many,” Inspector Marko Luotonen of Southwest Finland Police told national broadcaster Yle.

Last year 2,946 traffic accidents involving an animal were recorded across the whole country.

Police also warned the public to stay away from moose and other animals swimming in lakes, and to only take photos or videos from a safe distance.

Finland is home to an estimated 100,000 moose or elk as the animals are also known. They can grow to as long as three metres, and weigh 600 kilograms (about 1300 pounds), meaning that a collision with a car can be extremely serious for both the animal and those in the vehicle.

Anxious farmers counted the cost and sweltering workers breathed a sigh of relief on Friday as a heatwave lifted from northern Europe after toppling decades-old temperature records.

At its peak on Thursday, the heatwave smashed national temperature records in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands while Paris baked in its highest ever temperature of 42.6°C.

But the mercury dived in France with outbreaks of drizzle as state weather service Meteo-France lifted “red” alerts imposed in 20 departments.

Flights at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports were cancelled and delayed — some by over two hours — with holiday destinations such as Alicante, Rome and Lisbon affected.

Elsewhere in the British capital there was still travel havoc due to rails buckling under the heat and fires breaking out along commuter lines. The Met Office advised against non-essential travel.

At Paris’s Gare du Nord, an electrical failure halted domestic and international high-speed trains Friday lunchtime, including Eurostar and Thalys services although traffic gradually resumed.

Thalys — which links Paris to Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne — also saw disruption with slow trains amid fears infrastructure could overheat.

Agencies