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Last month ‘hottest June on record’ as heatwave swept Europe

Patrick Hertzog / AFP | Children play next to a water atomizer on a central square in Strasbourg, eastern France on June 28, 2019.

Last month was the hottest June ever recorded with soaring temperatures worldwide capped off by a record-breaking heatwave across Western Europe, satellite data showed Tuesday.

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Global readings taken by the EU-ran Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) showed European temperatures were around 2C hotter than normal, and globally Earth was 0.1C hotter than the previous June record.

The heatwave last week smashed national records for the hottest single day as scorching weather spread across Europe from the Sahara. It was so intense that temperatures were as much as 10C higher than normal across France, Germany, northern Spain and Italy.

Merging satellite data with historic temperature charts, C3S found June 2019 was 3C hotter across Europe than the baseline average between 1850-1900.

"Our data show that the temperatures over the southwestern region of Europe during the last week of June were unusually high," said Jean-Noel Thepaut, head of C3S.

"Although this was exceptional, we are likely to see more of these events in the future due to climate change."

The Copernicus team said it was difficult to attribute the record-breaking month "directly" to climate change.

Global warming made heatwave more likely, hotter

But a separate analysis Tuesday from an international team of scientists said global warming had made the heatwave at least five times more likely.

The report by the World Weather Attribution group of scientists also said the heatwave, in which southern France experienced a national record 45.9 degrees Celsius, was 4C hotter than it would have been without man-made climate change.

The group used computer models over three days from June 26-28 to calculate the temperatures they would otherwise have expected.

“Climate change is no longer an abstract increase in global mean temperature, but a difference you can feel when you step outside in a heatwave,” said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Senior Researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and one of the paper’s authors.

“The observations show ... similarly frequent heat waves would have likely been about 4C cooler a century ago,” said the report by the World Weather Attribution group of scientists.

France’s new record modern-day temperature, registered in Gallargues-le-Montueux, in the southerly Provence region, was nearly two degrees above the previous high recorded in August 2003.

Meteorologists say a weakening of the high-level jet stream over Europe is increasingly causing weather systems to stall and leading summer temperatures to soar.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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