BBC Weather: Temperature red warnings as heat spike reaches near 50C
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Temperatures have topped 45C across Spain as the heatwave – known as the ‘Lucifer’ heat dome – engulfs the continent. The heat dome has produced the hottest day ever recorded in Europe, as temperatures surpassed 48.8C in Scilly.
In Spain, the hottest was recorded in Ecija, Seville, as temperatures reached 46.5C.
In Granada, the mercury rose to 45.4C and saw very few people leave their homes but those who did sought shade.
Temperatures are expected to be around 25C in the evening across much of Spain, sparking fears for those who cannot afford air conditioning and other vulnerable people.
Dominic Roye, a climate scientist at the University of Santiago de Compostela, said: “The more intense the heat, the higher the mortality risk.
“When you have high night temperatures, our bodies are prevented from resting.
“The body is working and working to cool down.
“We have found a strong link between mortality and night temperatures exceeding 20C (68F).”
Italy has also been forced to take urgent action and raise concerns about older adults and those at higher risk as they expand heat warnings to 16 cities.
Major cities such as Rome, Florence and Bologna saw temperatures soar as high as 37C and were placed on red alert.
The heatwave comes as the “Lucifer” anti-cyclone has brought hot air from Africa to Europe.
A heat dome like this one forms in an area of high atmospheric pressure where air sinks instead of rising.
As no clouds form, the hot air is trapped within the dome and brings with it blistering temperatures.
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While anticyclones are not unusual for this time of year, the Met Office warned they are more frequent due to climate change.
Met Office meteorologist Chris Almond said: “With climate change, we are expecting, and are already seeing, more frequent and severe events, and will continue to do so in the future.”
He continued: “Adverse human health impacts are likely, particularly to those exposed to the extreme heat for prolonged periods, or those who are part of vulnerable population groups.
“This is combined with poor air quality in some places due to ongoing wildfires and smoke.”
The Met Office warned even higher temperatures, exceeding 50C, are not impossible as the climate warms up.
Professor Peter Stott, Met Office lead on climate attribution, added: “The chance each summer of seeing really extreme temperatures is pretty high now.
“We can’t say when it is likely to happen, but Europe will need to prepare for the eventuality of further records being broken, with temperatures above 50C being possible in Europe in future.”
Over recent weeks, Italy, Turkey and Greece have seen horrendous wildfires wreak havoc.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the fires Greece’s “greatest ecological disaster in decades”, which he linked directly to climate change.
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