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The Origins of Europe’s Heatwave: Unraveling its Causes


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Europe is facing a deadly heatwave dubbed Cerberus, with many cities recording record temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius.

Many cities across Europe have issued red warnings for “unbearable” temperatures set to become even more intense.

Temperatures are expected to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in parts of Spain, France, Greece, Croatia and Turkey, while temperatures could reach 48.8 degrees Celsius in Italy.

But what is causing this heatwave across the continent?

According to a report published by the British Daily Mail newspaper, experts explained that the scorching temperatures are caused by three main factors: El Niño, a system of constant high pressure, also known as a reverse cyclone, and climate change.

Dr Melissa Lazenby, Lecturer in the Department of Climate Change at the University of Sussex, said: “Europe is not particularly directly affected by El Niño events, so it is likely that the high pressure system and climate change are the main causes of this heat wave. “

The heat wave is currently covering southern Europe and northwestern Africa.

In Athens and Madrid, as in many other cities, temperatures exceed 30°C, peaking at 37°C in the Greek capital and 35°C in the Spanish city.

Health officials have also issued warnings for 10 major cities in Italy, including Florence and Rome.

Meteorologists expect temperatures in these areas to rise to more than 40 degrees Celsius next Tuesday. But the Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily will bear the brunt of this heat wave as the BBC says temperatures will hit 48.8 degrees Celsius.

And Italy’s warnings indicate temperatures are so high that entire cities, not just vulnerable ones, need to be on the lookout.

Cerberus named this heat wave after a three-headed monster from Greek and Roman mythology that guarded the “gateway to the underworld” or the abode of the dead, and whose hair on its neck or tail consisted of snakes.

Dr. Lazenby explained that the event is mainly driven by a high pressure system known as a reverse cyclone, adding: “It is not possible to pinpoint all the factors and their exact contribution to the current heat wave in Europe, only a complete post-cyclone. event attribution research will clarify the exact drivers and their impact on the event.”

Experts point out that climate change is undoubtedly the “critical factor” of heat waves in Europe.

“We have no doubt that this warming trend is primarily driven by carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels,” says Dr. Leslie Mabon, professor of environmental systems at the Open University. “Until we cut fossil fuel emissions.” extreme events will continue.” the heat wave we are seeing in Europe right now will become more likely.”

The European Climate Monitoring Service (Copernicus) has also indicated that a large dust cloud from the Sahara is moving towards Southern Europe.

However, this is unlikely to contribute to the heat wave, according to Dr. Chloe Brimicombe, a climatologist and extreme heat researcher at the University of Graz, who says “sugar dust is a potential health problem for southern Europeans – increased dust and pollution.”

While most of the continent is very hot, the UK does not experience the same high temperatures.

Dr Lazenby explained: “This is mainly due to the current settings of the high pressure system, which does not extend to the UK and is located so far south that it provides stable atmospheric conditions for increased warming and the resulting heatwaves.”

While the Cerberus wave is expected to last about two weeks, this may not mean the end of Europe’s weather problems.

And the World Meteorological Organization warns that there is a 90 percent chance that El Niño will continue through the end of the year.

This may indicate that warmer temperatures will persist again for a longer period, and El Niño is thought to be the driving factor for Cerberus.

Source: Daily Mail

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