North suffers from rain and cold, South from heat waves and forest fires – Executive Digest

European leaders must quickly address worrying climate trends across the continent, experts warned this Wednesday, given the ‘bipolar’ behavior of weather in Europe in June. There are two versions: in the north of the continent, temperatures are below average, with more rain than normal, while the south is struggling with heat waves and forest fires.

In Belgium, June was the ninth consecutive month with above-normal rainfall – a new record for the country and the worst in 119 years, according to the ‘Euronews’ website. In mid-June, a month’s worth of rain fell in one week, causing flooding in many areas. It was a much less sunny month than usual, a feeling shared across much of northern Europe, where temperatures still struggled to break 20 degrees Celsius in many places.

While northern Europeans are still waiting for the start of a typical summer, more southern and eastern countries are already facing problems.

According to the latest report from the European Union Climate Observatory, June was the hottest June on record globally. It was the 13th month in a row that the heat was recorded. Sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic have risen to their highest level in more than 40 years.

Globally, the July 2023 to June 2024 period was 0.76°C above the 1991–2020 average and 1.64°C above the pre-2020 average.

In the south, extreme temperatures caused heat waves and wildfires

Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece continue to be the most popular summer holiday destinations. The reason? They offer the type of travel most Europeans want: a sun and beach vacation.

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According to the ‘European Travel Commission’ (ETC), will extreme heat keep tourists away? It seems so. The ETC reports that the number of tourists visiting southern Europe will drop by 10% from 2022 as climate fears begin to affect ordinary citizens.

This year, heat waves have already hit parts of Europe more than ever before.

Regions of Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Italy have already been hit by extreme heat, with some places recording temperatures 10 degrees above the seasonal average.

Extreme temperatures and strong winds fueled wildfires near the Greek capital Athens and in the Turkish district of Izmir, forcing residents and tourists to evacuate their homes.

In France, organizers are concerned about the safety of the athletes as record temperatures hit the Paris Olympics just weeks before the start of the Games.

In Spain, authorities introduced a new map to more accurately predict heat waves and prevent illness and death.

Parts of northern Europe were hit by deadly storms and floods

At least seven people have died in storms in Switzerland, France and northern Italy as severe weather in Europe continues.

Earlier this month, the bodies of three people were recovered following a landslide in the Fontana area of ​​the Macchia Valley, on the southern slopes of the Swiss Alps. A man found dead in a hotel in the Swiss alpine resort of Sass-Grund is said to have been unknowingly caught in floodwaters.

Also in northern Italy there was damage from floods, thunderstorms and landslides. Italian firefighters in the Piedmont region in the country’s north said they had already carried out around 80 rescue operations this summer and evacuated dozens of people.

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Three people in their 70s and 80s died when a tree crushed the car they were traveling in during strong winds in the Aube region of northeastern France.

What explains the extreme weather conditions recorded in Europe this summer?

According to ‘Inverdo’ research, the number of extreme weather events in Europe will increase from 11,442 to 16,956 recorded events annually from 2021 to 2023.

These numbers include large hail storms, heavy rain or snow, damaging lightning, droughts caused by hot weather, and hurricanes.

Europe is the fastest warming continent in the world: According to the latest data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Copernicus, Europe has been warming twice the global average since 1991.

Both agencies warned that Europe needs to do more to reduce its emissions and move away from fossil fuels – 23 of the continent’s 30 most severe heatwaves on record have occurred since 2000, with five of those occurring in the past three years.

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