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Europe Burns In The Heat Wave Intensified By Climate Change

Europe burns under one of its worst heat waves in a very long time on Monday, as researchers and governments arranged to approve a significant new admonition about the seriousness of climate change. Greece’s temperature was forecasted at 48-degrees, Europe’s all-time high record, while there were rapidly spreading fires that seethed in Turkey, Greece, Italy and Finland.

As certain parts of Europe burned, scientists and governments were negotiating over the final wording of the major compilation of climate science records over the last seven years that were taking place online. The sixth assessment report of the U.N Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC) is set to release on August 9. Expecting to draw precise conclusions than before regarding the links between climate change and extreme weather, like heat waves.

Approximately every 6-7 years, the IPCC produces major summaries of the state of climate change. In the 6th edition’s 1st section extreme weather events across Europe, Africa, Asia and North America, which are linked to climate change has been discussed. Climatologist Ed Hawkins, lead author of the report mentioned that recent events would “hopefully provide some context for the world that we are moving towards”. Last month, Turkey was hit by both fires and floods and a new temperature record of 49.1 degrees was set.

More than 100 forest fires burned along the southern coast killing at least eight people last week. As flames engulfed beach resorts and villages, thousands had to be evacuated by boat. Approximately, 3000 farm animals perished. Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said that the fires were largely under control, on Monday. Even though later that day the mayor of Bodrum plead for help in front of rising smoke.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan government is facing flak for its response to the fires, with angry locals accosting the Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as he visited his constituency of Antalya, a tourism hotspot that was badly affected by the flames, asking why the state wasn’t sending firefighting planes.

Erdogan acknowledged on Friday that the country does not have a single firefighting plane at its disposal and had borrowed water bombers from other countries. On Sunday, the EU said it would send three planes to Turkey. Greece is also hit with the severe heat. Meteorologists are warning of near-record temperatures. On Monday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the that the country was facing its “worst heat wave since 1987,”more than 1000 have expired in Athens. Greeks were asked to reduce their electricity consumption and the locals were instructed to avoid unnecessary work and travel by the authorities. The heat was extreme and its also known as the death valley in central Greece where temperatures soared above 44 degrees on Monday. A local was filmed in Larissa frying eggs by cracking them over a table top outside. The hottest Europe has gotten to is 48 degrees in 1977 in Athens.

Ministry of civil protection said that alongside the heat, firefighters grappled with 116 outbreaks over the weekend. Experts warned that while temperatures are expected to peak early this week, fire risk will remain high. Fires razed trees even in Europe’s far north last week, as Finland, which registered record temperatures in early July, saw its worst forest fire in half a century. Forecasters said that the sweltering temperatures in Southern Europe were being driven by a “heat dome,” where heat gets trapped over a region for days or even weeks. A similar pattern was behind recent extreme heat in western North America.

Recent scientific advances and leaked drafts of the IPCC report indicate that scientists will deliver a stark message next week about the role of climate change in intensifying heat waves, floods and other calamities. “That side of the science has moved on a lot. And that will be reflected I'm sure in the IPCC report,” said Hawkins.