Brussels, the Belgian capital, is a city with a temperate continental climate due to its proximity to the sea. Snow is rare in winter and the extreme heat experienced in the boreal summer in southern and central Europe is also rare. But the climate crisis is changing things and the person signing this wrote it at more than 30 degrees when in September the usual thing in this city, which has become the European political capital, was not to exceed 20 degrees. Personal appreciation agrees with scientific data.
Copernicus, the European agency that manages the European Union’s climate satellites, reported this Wednesday that the global average temperatures during June, July and August had been the highest ever recorded on the planet with a global average temperature of 16.77 degrees Celsius. . 2023, according to the same report, will almost certainly be the hottest year on record.
For the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Portuguese Antonio Guterres, “the climate collapse has already begun.”
Guterres said: “Scientists have long warned against the consequences of our dependence on fossil fuels. “Our climate is imploding faster than our ability to cope with extreme weather events hitting all corners of the planet.”
Two young people cool off in Piazza España, in Rome. Photo: Cristina Quicler / AFP
Greece is, in Europe, that example.
In one month it has had the largest fire ever recorded in Europe and the greatest rainfall ever recorded in its history with rainfall that exceeded 400 liters per square meter in a few hours.
In areas of central Spain, as many liters of water fell in a few hours last weekend as usually falls in six months. The area burned in Europe so far this year, 535,000 hectares, exceeds that of last year by 10%.
Copernicus assures that although its databases go back to 1940, scientific analysis of trees or glaciers allows science to say that “the three months we have just passed are the hottest for at least 120,000 years, that is, since the beginning of the history of humanity.”
The rise in temperatures and the return of the El Niño climate phenomenon in the Pacific mean that even more heat is expected by 2024.
The sea is getting warmer. From July 31 to August 31, explains Copernicus, the average sea surface temperature exceeded the previous record set in 2016 every day.
Nothing like it appears in historical records. This warming of the seas causes the atmosphere to warm, more rain and, according to the report, “an increase in the energy available for tropical cyclones”, which mainly affect the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.
A warmer sea, says Copernicus, means “fewer nutrients and oxygen” for marine fauna, which increases algae and microalgae that are harmful to humans and animals.
Europe seems to have broken the thermostat. It is not that it is unusual that at the beginning of September in Brussels it exceeds 30 degrees or that in France it can reach 35, it is that these temperatures are what cities like Berlin or Warsaw are experiencing this week.
Extreme heat kills, as France remembers from its summer heatwave of 2003, a summer with a mortality rate for the elderly well above normal.
But also because they worsen air quality to make it more polluted and have negative effects on animal ecosystems, on agriculture and on the daily lives of citizens.