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Historic heat wave shatters all-time temperature records across Europe

A bool cooling off under a public water spray.
A boy attempting to cool off under a public water spray in Paris. Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

A blistering heat wave across Europe shattered a number of all-time temperature records across the continent on Thursday.

By the numbers: On Thursday, Paris reached 42.6°C (108.7°F) — by far its hottest temperature on record, according to Météo-France.

Other places broke all-time records as well:

  • The Netherlands at 4o.4°C (104.7°F).
  • Belgium at 40.6°C (105°F).
  • Germany at 41.5°C (106.7°F), according to the German Weather Service, and reported by DPA News.
  • London broke its July temperature record at Heathrow Airport with 36.9°C (98.4°F) with the country's all-time temperature record at risk, according to the Met Office.

The big picture: Many indoor homes and gathering places across Europe do not have air conditioning, often an expected feature in the U.S., leaving both the elderly and very young especially at risk during extreme heat events.

Why it matters: A repeated trend toward record-breaking temperatures is indicative of a warming climate, driven by human activity. Climate change increases the odds that similar extreme heat events will occur throughout the world.

  • Climate scientists warn that heat waves that are now considered exceptional events will become the norm in coming decades if emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases are not sharply curtailed.

Go deeper: Earth's 5 warmest years on record have occurred since 2014