In the latest extreme weather news, Europe has set a new record high temperature. Sicily hit 48.8 degrees Celsius this week, or 119.85 Fahrenheit, according to a reading at a Syracuse, Sicily monitoring station.
At press time, the record high hadn’t yet been verified by the World Meteorological Organization. But if the organization accepts the reading, it will be the hottest day in recorded European history. The previous record was 48 degrees Celsius (118.4 Fahrenheit), set in 1977 in Athens, Greece.
“Sicily has been experiencing a heatwave in the last few days,” said U.K. meteorologist Trevor Mitchell, as reported by The Guardian. “The foehn effect in the lee of the mountains to the west of Syracuse is likely to have assisted in generating the 48.8C observed there today.” This weather phenomenon happens when air is forced over mountains or other elevated terrains, changing from wet and cold conditions on one side to drier and warmer on the other.
Sicily is one hotspot in a hemisphere of blazing weather this week. Canada, Finland, the western U.S., Turkey, Estonia and Moscow have all been breaking heat records. Then there are the terrifying wildfires in Siberia’s biggest forest and deadly floods in China and Germany.
Scottish meteorologist Scott Duncan predicts more heat records are on the way. “A dangerous heatwave spanning much of north Africa and into southern Europe is unfolding right now,” he tweeted. “The focus of heat will shift west and north slightly in the coming days.”
Humans, in our irksome humanness, manage to be shocked by these extreme weather catastrophes despite having been warned for several decades. “This is climate change in 3D. It is here,” said Owen Gaffney, an analyst at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, as reported by The Guardian. “We are radically changing the climate system so hot areas will get hotter, wet areas will get wetter. We are going to get more extremes.”
Via The Guardian
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