The temperature records expected Monday in France and the United Kingdom illustrate the multiplication of heat waves in Europe, a direct consequence of global warming.
Greenhouse gas emissions increase the strength, duration and rate of repetition of heat waves, scientists say.
Summer 2022: two heat waves in less than a month
In mid-June, an extreme and early heat wave hit southern and central Europe, causing numerous fires. Spikes of 42°/43° in temperatures recorded under shelter were recorded in France and records for the month of June were broken in Austria and Germany.
The current heat wave, which is affecting Western Europe, is also causing devastating forest fires and threatening to break several temperature records.
In France, Greece, Portugal and Spain, fires forced thousands of residents and tourists to flee their homes, and killed several members of the emergency services.
In Gironde, 19,300 hectares of vegetation went up in smoke in eight days (recorded on Tuesday July 19 at 3:30 p.m.), and peaks around 44°C were recorded on Monday.
In the UK, highs above 40° are also expected on Monday or Tuesday.
Summer 2021: Greece and Spain under fire
From the end of July to the beginning of August 2021, Greece is going through an intense heat wave, described as the “ worst heat wave since 1987 by the government, with maximum temperatures around 45°C.
Major fires affect the Mediterranean rim: in Greece, Turkey, Italy and Spain.
Between August 11 and 16, Spain experienced temperatures exceeding 45°C in the regions of Andalusia and Murcia (south), reaching up to 47°C.
Two waves in 2019, record temperatures
Summer 2019 was marked by two heat waves in Europe, at the end of June and in the second half of July.
These two episodes would have caused the death of 2,500 people, according to an estimate by the University of Louvain (Belgium).
A historic heat peak was reached in France on June 28 in Vérargues (Hérault) with 46°C.
On July 24 and 25, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom recorded record temperatures: 42.6°C in Lingen (north-west Germany), 41.8°C in Begijnendijk (north of Belgium), 40.4°C in the south of the Netherlands and 38.7°C in Cambridge (east of England).
2018: heat, drought and fires
The second half of July and the beginning of August 2018 are marked in Europe by very high temperatures and by an intense drought which lowers the level of rivers, such as the Danube in central Europe.
The period was especially marked by destructive forest fires in Portugal and Spain.
2017: fires and extreme temperatures
Several heat waves affect Europe, from the end of June until the first half of August, particularly in the south of the continent. A persistent drought causes major forest fires, sometimes deadly, in Portugal.
Spain records high temperatures between July 12 and 14, in particular a peak of 46.9°C in Cordoba (south) on July 13, according to data from Aemet.
2015: the early heat wave
Europe was hit early by a series of heat waves, starting at the end of June. England recorded a peak of 36.7°C in early July.
In France, four heat waves during the summer of 2015 caused an estimated total of 1,700 deaths, according to a study by the Public Health France health agency published in April 2019.
2007: Central and Southern Europe
A long hot and dry period falls from the end of June until the end of July on the countries of central Europe and the south of the continent.
Hungary deplores more than 500 dead, while Italy, Macedonia and Serbia are affected by numerous forest fires.
2003: thousands of deaths
Western Europe, particularly France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, experiences exceptional temperatures in the first half of August.
1is August 2003, Portugal recorded a record temperature of 47.3°C in Amareleja (south).
In France, emergency services see an influx of elderly people in distress.
Scientific studies subsequently estimate the additional deaths in 16 European countries during the summer of 2003 at 70,000 due to the heat, France and Italy in the lead, with between 15,000 and 20,000 deaths in the two countries.