The World Meteorological Organization or WMO reports the month of July was one of the three warmest on record globally. This, despite a weak La Nina event, which is supposed to have a cooling influence.
Meteorologists warn the heatwave that swept through large parts of Europe last month is set to continue in August. They note July was drier than average in much of Europe, badly affecting local economies and agriculture, as well as increasing the risk of wildfires.
WMO Spokeswoman Clare Nullis says Britain’s Met Office has issued another advisory warning of a heat buildup throughout this week. However, she says temperatures are not expected to reach the extreme, record-setting temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius seen in July.
“But it is well above average. Temperatures in France this week, well above average. In Switzerland, many parts of Switzerland well above average. And as I said, continuing the trend that we saw in July, Spain saw its hottest ever month in July. So, not just the hottest July but the hottest ever month on record.”
Nullis says Europe and other parts of the world will have to get used to and adapt to the kind of heatwaves WMO’s Secretary-General Petteri Taalas calls “the new normal.”
While Europe was sweltering under extreme heat in July, WMO reports Antarctic Sea ice reached its lowest July level on record. This follows a record low Sea ice level in June. While Europe saw a lot of heat in July, Nullis notes big chunks of the Antarctic did as well.
“It is important to bear in mind there is quite a big sort of monthly and year-to-year variability in Antarctica. So, the fact that it was the lowest on record in June and in July does not mean necessarily that this is a long-term irreversible trend.”
WMO reports the long-lasting drought in parts of Europe also is set to continue. It warns below-normal precipitation in many parts of Europe will cause or worsen drought conditions and likely trigger more forest fires.