Nations in southern Europe swell through their second heatwave in as many months as temperatures in some parts exceed 45 degrees Celsius.
- Public thermometers showed on Thursday that the temperature rose as high as 46C in Spain
- The European Union has called on member states to prepare for wildfires this summer
- Scientists blame man-made climate change for the increased frequency of extreme weather
Locals and tourists all over Spain, Italy and Romania flocked to lakes, beaches and city fountains to find the respite from the extreme heat.
Temperatures in many parts of Spain have peaked at 40 degrees for several days and are expected to continue until next week.
Public thermometers showed on Thursday that temperatures rose as high as 46C in the Plaza de España in the Spanish city of Seville while people bathed in the fountains.
The heat was so extreme in Seville, one of the hottest cities in Europe, that some unions called for workers to be sent home this week.
But many had to continue working despite the staggering temperatures.
The European Union has called on member states to prepare for forest fires this summer as the continent faces yet another extreme weather change, as scientists say triggered by climate change.
Scientists blame man-made climate change for the increased frequency of extreme weather such as heat waves, which have also hit parts of China and the United States in recent days.
A study in the journal Nature last week showed that the number of heat waves in Europe has risen three to four times faster than in the rest of the northern mid latitudes, such as the United States and Canada, largely due to the jet stream air splitting into two parts in longer periods.
“Europe is very much affected by changes in atmospheric circulation,” said co-author Kai Kornhuber, a climate researcher at Columbia University.
“It’s a heatwave hotspot.”
Animal keepers at Madrid Zoo fed pandas and bears with watermelon sticks, seals with frozen sardines and lions with frozen buckets of meat.
Some Europeans welcomed the heat.
In Catania, on the east coast of Italy’s Sicily, tourists and locals crowded cafes to eat granita, a frozen dessert, and jumped into the sea to cool off.
“The heat here is a little tiring, but I think it’s the least tiring thing we face this year, I tolerated it with joy,” said Catania resident Pierpaola.
Reuters / AP