Issue Brief on “Climate Change causing Extreme Heat Wave in Europe”

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Background

Since June 2022, persistent heat waves have affected parts of Central, Southern, and Western Europe, causing wildfires. In June, temperatures between 40–43°C were recorded throughout most of Europe with hundreds of daily, monthly, and all-time temperature records broken throughout the continent. The countries that have been impacted include Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK. The climate crisis is playing a clear role in making heat waves more intense and more likely.[1]

The heat wave is due to a high-pressure system called the Azores High, which usually sits off Spain, has grown larger and pushed farther north, bringing high temperatures to the UK, France, and the Iberian Peninsula. Climatologists have linked the extreme heat to the impact of climate change, and experts predict that changes in the jet stream because of climate change will cause heat waves with increasing frequency in Europe.[2]

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