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expert reaction to European heatwave – June temperature data in Europe (from ECMWF and Copernicus Climate Change Service), and climate change attribution data for the French heatwave (from the WWA network)

Data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), reports the average June temperatures in Europe this year. ¥

Also, researchers, from the World Weather Attribution Group, have published data reporting a link between the French heatwave and climate change.*


Comment on French heatwave attribution data*:

NEW COMMENT Prof Peter Stott, Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution, Met Office Hadley Centre, said:

“This analysis came out of the remarkable coincidence of a major international conference on the statistics of climate change taking place in Toulouse during the intense heatwave.  This meant the World Weather Attribution team could analyse the heatwave first hand and be joined in their rapid assessment by other expert delegates from the Met Office and Meteo France.

“The results demonstrate the clear impact of human activities in making the level of extreme temperatures seen this June substantially more likely in France as a whole, and in Toulouse in particular.”

  • Observations of present-day heatwaves show a very large increase in temperature, in fact, a similarly extreme heatwave 100 years ago would have likely been around 4°C cooler.


Comment on both June European temperature data¥ and French heatwave attribution data*:

Prof Hannah Cloke, natural hazards researcher, University of Reading, said:

“We knew June was hot in Europe, but this study shows that that temperature records haven’t just been broken.  They have been obliterated.  This is the hottest June on record in Europe by a country mile, and the warmest June we have ever seen globally.

“Heatwaves occur in any climate, but we know that heatwaves are becoming much more likely due to climate change.  The global climate just keeps getting hotter, as greenhouse gases continue to build up, as scientists have predicted for decades.

“It will be possible to examine to what extent this heatwave has been caused by climate change, but an event like this occurs due to an incredibly complex series of related events.  Rapid attempts to find links between climate change and single extreme weather events are possible, but often come with many caveats.  We should be careful not to ignore these caveats when we look at the conclusions of quick-turnaround attribution studies.

“As heatwaves such as this become more common in Europe, we will have to change the way we live to cope with them, as well as providing more sophisticated early warnings to help people to prepare.”


Comment on June European temperature data¥:

Prof Andrew Charlton-Perez, Professor of Meteorology, University of Reading, said:

“It’s really impressive that the Copernicus climate change service can help to put into context the recent heat wave in Europe and the resulting impact on June temperatures so quickly after the event occurred.  This rapid analysis of our climate can only help us to improve our understanding and ability to predict similar high impact events in the future.  Medium-range forecasts of the heatwave were generally very good and seem to have helped the affected countries prepare well for the adverse effects of such extreme temperatures on vulnerable parts of the population.  Seasonal forecasts for June, July and August issued in May indicated an enhanced probability of a warm summer over Europe and so it will be interesting to see if the remainder of the summer is similarly warm.”


¥ ECMWF and Copernicus Climate Change Service data on June temperature records:

* WWA network data on climate change attribution of the French heatwave:


Declared interests

None received.

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