A climatologist holds his breath before summer: it’s hot in Europe

DIVING UNDER: A person cools off during a heat wave in Rome, Italy, last summer. Photo: REMO CASILLI / Reuters / NTB

Europe is preparing for another hot summer. Our climate is reaching the extremes that our infrastructure can withstand, explains the researcher.

In Estonia, southern Finland and Latvia, a yellow heat warning was already issued at the end of May.

The world has experienced 11 consecutive months of record temperatures.

And in Norway it will also be warm according to seasonal forecasts.

The month of May is not yet over and is therefore not included in the overview, but the spring month has already offered many records.

Earlier in May, VG tested the swimming temperature in Oslo:

Now it’s summer’s turn.

Will we have a repeat of last year – and when will the first heatwave of summer arrive?

Hans Olav Hygen
Hans Olav Hygen

Climatologist, Meteorological Institute

– This is a billion-dollar question, and we don’t have very good answers, says climatologist Hans Olav Hygen.

In Norway, a heatwave occurs when the maximum temperature exceeds 27 degrees for more than five consecutive days.

The probability that the summer will be as hot as last year is absolutely present, believes the researcher.

– We have seasonal alerts for Norway and Europe. They show that summer is slightly more likely to be hot than cold, and that summer is slightly more likely to be hot in the south than in the north, Hygen says.

The climatologist hopes we will avoid a repeat of 2022 and 2023.

– It was an extreme year. There were many strong events with climatic components. Forest fires in Greece, Portugal and Spain. And heatwaves of up to 40-45 degrees along the Mediterranean.

DEVASTATED: Wildfires ravaged Greece last year during an extreme summer. Here, residents of Agios Charalabos, near Athens, are being evacuated. Photo: ARIS MESSINIS / AFP / NTB

Europe is warming faster than the rest of the world, without scientists really knowing why. Ocean circulation and reduced pollution are part of the explanation.

– For Europe, seasonal forecasts show that there is a good chance that we will have a hot summer, especially around the Mediterranean.

– It is in the areas around the Mediterranean that we see the most extreme effects. Drought, heatwave and extreme torrential rains.

MORE OF THIS This is what the streets of Oslo looked like in the torrential rain on Monday. According to the climatologist, this is something we will know more about. Photo: Janne Møller-Hansen, VG

In eastern Norway, thunderstorms and torrential rain occurred on Monday and Tuesday.

Several streets in Oslo turned into rivers when around 30 millimeters of rain fell in an hour.

– This is something we have to get used to. This is one of the trends we are seeing. The total amount of precipitation increases. But it is not increasing steadily, but in an extreme manner. These are the heavy downpours. They come with warm and superb weather. There is a lot of energy in the system, then it is unleashed with thunder and lightning.

The evolution of extreme summers in Europe in recent years worries the researcher.

– Because it’s dangerous?

– There are people dying. Especially the sick and the elderly, but also those who have problems. When there is a forest fire, no one is safe, he replies.

Around forty people collapsed on Saturday May 18 in the port of Gothenburg, 20 of whom were hospitalized. A young man in his 20s was later confirmed dead.

COLLAPSEES: Several people collapsed and were taken to hospital during the Göteborgsvarvet half marathon on May 18 this year.

The scorching heat that reigns in the Swedish metropolis is partly responsible for this situation.

– We are not a society adapted to the climate in which we live. It now seems to me that the climate has been pushed to the extreme of what our society can tolerate.

He specifies :

– Our infrastructure is not suitable for heavy rainfall or heatwaves. Our health system is not adapted. It’s too hot in our houses. We are not a society adapted to the climate we are entering.

Rocky Maldonado

"Hardcore coffee specialist. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Devoted internetaholic."

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