By Fred Fink, Summer Times Staff Writer
If you hear the word summer, what comes into your mind? Probably that there is always sunshine, warm temperatures and that you can enjoy the time at the beach or the swimming pool. Summer is the season of the year, that most people like. However, in Europe, it got extreme. Never in recorded history, has Paris been hotter than it was last Thursday when the temperature neared 42.6 degrees Celsius (108.6 Fahrenheit).
The same was true of Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Such extreme temperatures and alarming signs we don’t see every day. The climate archives are reporting an emergency: earth temperatures never changed so rapidly in the last 2000 years as fast and extensively as currently.
Several new records got broken on Thursday and Friday last week. On Thursday, France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands achieved new records. In Paris and Lyon temperatures of 42.6 and 41.3 degrees, Celsius were measured. Parisians could be seen plunging fully into the fountains of the Trocadero.Viennese cooled themselves in municipal misters and Amsterdamers dangled their feet in a repurposed kiddie pool.
In Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, temperatures of 42.6 and 41.7 degrees were measured. While most people enjoyed the sun and heat, others had to suffer, with dire circumstances. For instance, 100 pigs died in the Netherlands because of failing ventilation. In France, five people were reported dead.
But should scientists and we global citizens interpret this as a warning sign of climate change? The World Weather Magnitude, an international collaboration, explored links between climate change and extreme weather events. Their conclusion: “Every heat wave occurring in Europe today is made more likely and more intense by human-induced climate change.” Their conclusion continues: “Even a seemingly small shift in global average temperature can spur disproportionately large changes in the likelihood and intensity of temperature extremes.”
Next, to the melting of the polar and arctic ice sheets that would be responsible for the global average sea-level rise of 23 feet, there is even a more significant threat. In the north polar zone, hidden under melting permafrost, a climate bomb is ticking. In particular, the estimated 1,670 gigatons of carbon dioxide are buried under these melting layers. These amounts are doubling these in the entire atmosphere. Although climate change would be the trigger, the actual energy for melting would come from the microbes in the permafrost, which process the carbon bound in it. However, the effects on all regions would be fatal.
So why is this topic relevant to the European heatwave? The heatwave in Europe is caused by global warming. The extreme weather events are perfect evidence that our planet is about to boil and we with him. Without taking any action, our life on earth is highly threatened. Already by eating less than 4 oz of meat per day and riding your bicycle more often to school, you are already making an impact. The time to act is now, not tomorrow, or months later. On the one hand, we want to stay on earth and life in pleasing temperatures. On the other hand, we are destroying it and our last hope.
Although the heatwave in Europe is still a big topic, heavy rainfalls and storms recently cooled down temperatures in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Forecasts predict temperatures between 18 and 27 degrees Celsius (64.4 and 80.6, Fahrenheit respectively) with sun and partly rain for the upcoming days and week. However, we should not retreat from the climate change issue. It is in our hands whether to prevent it or let it happen.