Temperatures in Paris are nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s too hot for fireworks in Switzerland, and wildfires are raging inside the Arctic Circle.
A heat wave is hanging over Europe this week, with temperatures expected to reach 99° Fahrenheit in London on “Furnace Friday.”
Trains in and out of London were cancelled due to the extreme heat this week. Cities in Switzerland cancelled annual fireworks displays for the country’s national holiday (August 1) for fear of starting wildfires. Temperatures along the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden reached 86°F. More than 50 wildfires have been reported across Sweden, with many more in Finland and Norway. A wildfire in Greece has killed at least 80 people.
These past few weeks have already been named the driest start to summer since the UK began recording rainfall in 1961. The country could also break its all-time heat record of 101.3°F this week.
The lingering high temperatures in Europe are caused by a stagnant high pressure system. For the past two months, the jet stream (a current that brings weather across Europe) has been more north than normal.
“2018 is shaping up to be one of the hottest years on record, with new temperature records in many countries,” World Meteorological Organization Deputy Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova said in a statement. “This is no surprise. The heatwaves and extreme heat we are experiencing are consistent with what we expect as a result of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions. This is not a future scenario. It is happening now.”
The last major heat wave Europe experienced was in 2003. At that time, temperatures were the hottest on record since 1540. The continent reported more than 20,000 heat-related deaths during the extreme heat.
This summer’s extreme heat is affecting countries all over the world. High temperatures and humidity caused some of the worst landslides in decades in Japan earlier this month. At least 155 people were killed. Algeria’s Sahara desert reported the highest temperature ever in Africa (124°F) on July 5. Wildfires in California caused the closing of Yosemite National Park this week.