Europe is withering under an early heat wave from the Middle Sea to the North Sea

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BERLIN – A blanket of hot air stretching from the Mediterranean to the North Sea brings the first heat wave of much of Western Europe for the summer, with Friday temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) from London to Paris.

Meteorologists say the unusually early heat wave is a sign of what lies ahead, as global warming continues, raising temperatures on the calendar that Europe previously saw only in July and August.

“In some parts of Spain and France, temperatures are more than 10 degrees higher – which is huge – than the average for this time of year,” said Claire Nulis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva.

In France, about 18 million people woke up to signals of heat waves affecting about a third of the country on Friday. Forest fire warnings were issued by the Pyrenees south of the Paris area.

Tourists dipped their feet in fountains near the Eiffel Tower or sought relief in the Mediterranean.

France has introduced a number of measures to deal with extreme summer temperatures since then deadly heat wave in 2003 which killed about 15,000 people.

On Friday, students were allowed to miss classes in the 12 western and southwestern French regions that were most at risk. The government has stepped up efforts to ensure that residents of nursing homes and other vulnerable groups can remain hydrated.

Temperatures in France rose throughout the week to 37 C (98.6 F) on southwest Friday. Night temperatures are also unusually high, and the heat spreads to the usually cooler regions of Brittany and Normandy on the Atlantic coast.

Mathieu Sorel, a climatologist at the national meteorological service Meteo France, told public television France-Info that temperatures are expected to break several records. He called the extremely long long period of hot weather a “marker of climate change”.

Britain recorded its hottest day of the year, reaching 32.4 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) at Heathrow Airport near London shortly after noon. The Meteorological Service said mercury could reach 34C (93F) in the South of England before a cooler and rainier weekend.

The heatwave prompted the organizers of the Royal Ascot Horse Racing Event to ease their notorious strict dress code by allowing men to take off their jackets and ties after the traditional procession with carriages of members of the royal family.

The British Meteorological Office said global warming had raised the average summer temperature in the UK – and the likelihood of more extreme temperatures during hot periods and heat waves.

“Reaching 34 degrees Celsius in June is a rare but not unprecedented event in historical climate records for the United Kingdom,” said Mark McCarthy, head of the National Climate Information Center of the Meteorological Service. “But if that happened this week, it would be remarkable that it would have happened every three days in the last six June.”

Before 2017, the last three times in the United Kingdom recorded June temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 F) or higher in 1947, 1957 and 1976.

In the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, people boarded trains to the nearest beach in the North Sea early Friday afternoon, while others boarded boats and paddle boards along one of the world’s historic canal rings.

The German national meteorological service DWD predicts that the heavy sweat will continue over the weekend as the heat spreads to Central and Eastern Europe. This is a consequence of an unusually dry spring in Western Europe, with authorities ordering water to be standardized in northern Italy and parts of France and Germany.

Experts say climate change is already affecting rainfall patterns and evaporation rates across the region, with an impact on agriculture, industry and wildlife.

“The heat waves start earlier,” said Nulis of the United Nations Meteorological Agency. “They are becoming more frequent and more severe due to the record levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. What we are witnessing today is, unfortunately, a premonition of the future. “

She noted that extreme temperatures have hit other parts of the globe in recent weeks. Nearly a third of Americans were in some form of heat warning this week. During the months of scorching temperatures, India and Pakistan I saw mercury exceed 50 C (122 F) in some places.

The current heat wave in Europe started almost a week ago in Spainwhere temperatures reached 43 C (109.4F). Spanish authorities hope the weather will start to cool again on Sunday.

Intense temperatures and lack of rainfall have helped ignite forest fires in Spain by reducing firefighting capacity.

The heat was also felt at a meeting in Madrid, where experts and politicians gathered to discuss ways to do so. tackling drought and the growing spread of deserts around the world.

Angela Charlton in Paris, Ciaran Giles in Madrid, Mike Corder in Amsterdam, Jill Lawless in London and Jamie Keaton in Geneva contributed to this report.

Monitor the AP’s climate change coverage

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