July 18th 2022 recorded Ireland’s highest temperature since the 19th century. Met Éireann confirms a staggering national record of 33°C measured at the Phoenix Park, Co. Dublin.
As record-breaking heatwaves soar through Europe and the UK, the effects of climate change are largely vivid. Global average temperatures increased by 1.2°C since pre-industrial times, with severe droughts and wildfires raging across southern Europe causing evacuations in Italy and Greece.
Climate change generates rapidly spreading fires that burn longer and rage intensely. Although countries such as Portugal and Greece experience fires annually, with relevant infrastructure in place, both countries required emergency EU this summer as hotter temperatures pushed wildfires into unprepared regions.
The UK has seen a doubling in wildfires compared to 2021, according to the National Fire Chiefs Council. The 40°C temperatures observed in London on July 18th sparked grassfires, destroying over 40 houses and shops.
The European Commission stated that almost half of UK and EU territories are at risk of droughts. Parts of Britain are on the verge of extreme drought after areas received less than half of their expected rainfall. Water and heat stress has drastically reduced crop yields in France, Romania, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Measures for water restrictions have been implemented in five Italian regions after drought emergency has been declared. Spain faces similar measures as water volumes in reservoirs are 31% lower than the 10-year average.
Visit the European Drought Observatory for real-time information on the progress of draught within the EU area.
Although countries agreed to cut emissions under the global 2015 Paris Agreement, only the European Union has enacted policies consistent with the international goals. Without global cooperation, current policies would not cut emissions fast enough to meet the set goals.
By: Stefania Scurtu