The brutally hot conditions has been sweeping through Europe affecting everything from transport to food and energy production.
After deadly forest fires in Portugal and Spain, extreme northern hemisphere summer weather caused the water level of the Rhine, Europe’s most important river, to drop further, risking deliveries of coal and oil to power stations and industrial plants in Germany.
The tally of the damage for the summer has just started. More than 600 people have died across the region, and large swathes of France, Italy and Greece face extreme risk of wildfires. The EU has sent three firefighting planes to help battle forest fires — two to Portugal and one to Slovenia.
Amid concern over food shortages from Russia’s war in Ukraine, the development of crops such as maize has been affected, causing Paris futures to rally 10% in July.
Temperatures in London and the south of England might hit a record-setting 40°C this week which is more than 30°C, the maximum temperature for transporting livestock such as cows and pigs, according to UK regulations.
“The climate crisis is intensifying worldwide,” German economy minister Robert Habeck said on Monday, releasing a study that showed extreme weather in recent years had cost Europe’s largest economy more than €80bn.
The deadly forest fires in Portugal and Spain, extreme northern hemisphere summer weather caused the water level of the Rhine, Europe’s most important river, to drop further, risking deliveries of coal and oil to power stations and industrial plants in Germany.
Meanwhile, Italy is experiencing an “extreme drought”, according to the national research council’s drought observatory, with its largest river, the Po, at its lowest level in 70 years.
The dry weather creates ideal conditions for wildfires to spread quickly. Approximately, 1,100 firefighters were still facing blazes in Portugal, which has suffered 200 more deaths than normal since the start of the latest heatwave. But there are signs of progress.
The fires have eased since last week, and the government on Sunday downgraded the situation to the “alert” level with temperatures forecast to fall.
The move eases restrictions on resources and allows life to gradually return to normal for some farmers and rural communities. Cereals may now be harvested in the early mornings and the evenings, according to the government’s website.