Italy may have experienced its highest recorded temperature, reaching up to 48.8 °C, during an extreme heat wave that’s currently covering much of southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean. This is the latest in a long line of extreme weather events that have occurred this summer.
What is Happening?
- Since early August, an historic heat wave has engulfed large parts of southeastern Europe including Turkey and Greece. Both countries have since been battling unprecedented wildfires over the past few weeks.
- Temperatures in Siracusa, a town in Sicily, have apparently soared up to 48.8 °C, as reported by a regional weather station, smashing the country’s previous highest recorded temperature.
- The health ministry in Italy has issued “red” alerts for extreme heat in a number of major cities and areas including the capital city of Rome.
- The heat wave covering the country, nicknamed Lucifer, has also led to the widespread of wildfires across southern regions of Italy. Areas including Sicily, Calabria and Puglia have suffered some of the more severe blazes with more than 300 recorded over a 12-hour period.
- The extreme heat wave has also plagued the Mediterranean and northern Africa. Tunisia has similarly set a new temperature record for August where the town of Jendouba reported temperatures surging up to 49 °C.
- However, there’s currently no end in sight for these extreme weather events. This particular heat wave, caused by a heat dome that formed over the continent, will be pushing through towards countries like Spain and Portugal. Temperatures have been predicted to easily surpass 45°C in Spain in the coming days of August.
- Highest temperature records have reached about 47°C in both countries, but many expect this oncoming heat wave will likely shatter them as well.
- According to the recent landmark IPCC climate report, atmospheric CO2 levels in 2019 have reached concentrations higher than at any time in at least 2 million years and the Earth’s surface temperatures have already warmed by about 1.2°C.
- Experts in the report states it is already too late to reverse or avoid at least some of the damage to Earth’s climate system. Governments and international bodies need to coordinate aggressive climate action to draw down current levels of emissions.
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