Temperatures in the United Kingdom were expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time on Tuesday, after the country’s hottest night on record, as wildfires burned over parched countryside in France, Spain, and elsewhere.
As a heatwave that hit southern Europe last week moved north, southern and western Germany and Belgium prepared for possibly record-breaking temperatures, with many experts blaming climate change.
While temperatures in Spain and Portugal returned to more typical summer levels, firefighters in both countries were still combating several fires.
Britain has been declared in a state of “national emergency” as temperatures appear poised to break the previous high of 38.7 degrees Celsius set in 2019. The excessive heat has disrupted transport, with some trains forced to stop operating and flights delayed.
“We’ve seen a considerable amount of travel disruption,” Transport Minister Grant Shapps told the BBC.
“We’re probably going to see the hottest day ever in the UK recorded today, and infrastructure, much of which was built from the Victorian times, just wasn’t built to withstand this type of temperature.”
A research published in the journal “Environmental Research: Climate” in June indicated that climate change was most likely exacerbating heatwaves.
Droughts induced by human-generated climate change are anticipated to increase the occurrence of intense wildfires by 30 percent over the next 28 years, according to a United Nations research released in February 2022.