Europe’s heatwave why? Scientists explain how a high-pressure anticyclone, El Niño, and climate change cause scorching temperatures across the continent

Cerberus, a dangerous heatwave, is sweeping Europe, prompting towns like as Rome, Bologna, and Florence to issue red alert warnings as temperatures rise. Spain, France, Greece, Croatia, and Turkey are forecast to exceed 40 degrees Celsius, while Italy may reach 48.8 degrees Celsius. Experts believe El Nio, a stationary high-pressure system, and climate change are to blame for the heatwave. Because El Nio episodes have no direct impact on Europe, it is likely that the high-pressure system and climate change are the primary factors to the hot event.

Southern Europe and northwestern Africa are experiencing a heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius in locations such as Athens and Madrid. Health officials in eleven major Italian towns, including Florence and Rome, have issued red alerts. The Met Office predicts temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius next Tuesday. With temperatures reaching 48.8 degrees Celsius, Sardinia and Sicily will bear the brunt of the heat. Due to the severe heat, Italy warns that cities should take precautions, not only vulnerable populations.

Cerberus, named after the three-headed monster in Dante’s Inferno, has already taken the life of a 44-year-old man in Lodi, near Milan. The heatwave is mostly caused by an anticyclone, a high-pressure system that creates stable air conditions due to a stationary high pressure feature. Climate change is thought to be a major contributor to the warming trend, with carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use being a major contributor. However, lowering emissions from fossil fuels is critical for reducing extremes such as Europe’s current heatwave.

Southern Europe is particularly concerned about a massive Saharan dust cloud, which poses health risks due to increased dust content and pollution. Due to the location of the present high-pressure system, which is further south and provides stable atmospheric conditions for greater warming and resulting heatwaves, the UK is not suffering the same high temperatures as the rest of Europe. The lack of favourable heatwave conditions in the UK is to blame for the extremely warm temperatures experienced throughout Europe.

The Jet Stream’s southern shift has generated unstable and cooler weather in the UK, forcing high pressure to push southwards. Last summer was Europe’s hottest on record, with over 61,000 deaths across the continent and nearly 3,500 in the UK. The Cerberus weather pattern is expected to last two weeks, but it may not be enough to ease Europe’s weather woes. According to the World Meteorological Organization, El Nio will most certainly remain until the end of the year, potentially causing warmer temperatures to last longer. This comes only days after Copernicus reported the hottest June in global history. Carlo Cacciamani of Italy’s national meteorological and climatology service stressed that this is happening increasingly frequently, resulting in temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius instead of the normal 30-31 degrees Celsius.

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