The worst heatwave in decades is causing deaths and mayhem across southeast Europe, with wildfires causing entire villages to be evacuated and millions of people instructed not to venture out into the midday sun.
Hot air from Africa is driving the heatwave, with temperatures reaching above 40C (104 F) in many areas, and meteorologists expect the weather will continue into next week making it the most severe since the 1980s.
Authorities in Greece, Turkey, Serbia and Bulgaria, and many other countries in the region, are warning residents to avoid direct sunlight during midday hours, while firefighting crews across the region are scrambling to protect properties.
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“If we think more globally, we’ve had some very, very severe weather events recently, 49.6C (121.28 F), an all-time temperature record in Canada,” said Mike Kendon, the senior climate scientist at the UN World Meteorological Office (WMO) said.
“When you see observations like that, they are taking us outside our own envelope of experience of what we have seen before. An event like that is simply not possible to explain without the human influence on the climate system.”
The UN WMO says that 2020 was one of the three warmest years ever recorded, and the warmest on record for Europe.
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