Jul 12, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Fires ravage Portugal as another blistering heat wave scorches Europe

A firefighter works to extinguish a wildfire at Casais do Vento in Alvaiazere on July 10, 2022.
A firefighter works to extinguish a wildfire at Casais do Vento in Alvaiazere, Portugal, on July 10. Photo: Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

Raging wildfires in Portugal have injured dozens of people as another potentially record-breaking heat wave sweeps Europe one month after historic high temperatures, per the Independent.

The big picture: Portugal and Spain are already enduring temperatures well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Parts of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg are set to see similar temperatures this weekend. And forecasters warn temperatures in the U.K. could top 40 Celsius (104°F) for the first time ever.

  • "Some models have been producing maximum temperatures in excess of 40C in parts of the U.K. over the coming weekend and beyond," per a U.K. Met Office statement — which noted the current record of 38.7C (102°F) was set at England's Cambridge Botanic Garden in 2019.

Meanwhile, the European Commission said in a statement Monday it had mobilized its firefighting fleet to help tackle "destructive forest fires" in Portugal, where a state of emergency has been declared and many residents have been forced to evacuate.

Driving the news: Studies show that as the climate warms, the frequency of heat waves dramatically increases — as does the severity and longevity of such events, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.

  • "Extreme heat events do occur within natural climate variation due to changes in global weather patterns," the Met Office noted in its statement.
  • "However, the increase in the frequency, duration, and intensity of these events over recent decades is clearly linked to the observed warming of the planet and can be attributed to human activity."

Go deeper: Heat domes spike in Europe as climate change helps shift weather patterns

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