All-time temperature records tumbled across northern France on Thursday, but the country can now breathe a sigh of relief as the cooler weather is here and, according to the experts, is set to stay.
Meteorologist Frederick Decker of météonews.fr says the rest of the summer is likely to follow the pattern of 2006, when a scorching July was followed by a cooler and quite unsettled August.
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August should be an easier month for farmers who have struggled with drought restrictions in July. Photo: AFP
The next two weeks are set to be back to more usual temperatures for August in France – so it will still be hot, particularly in the south.
Temperatures will regularly climb to the high 30Cs and sometimes low 40Cs, but are unlikely to see a return of the sweltering temperatures of this week, he told Le Parisien.
Towards the second half of August, the weather is likely to turn more unsettled, particularly in the north of the country, which is likely to see episodes of rain and some storms, although the average temperatures will still be consistent with a normal August.
Across Europe, it was the hottest June ever recorded with temperatures around 2C hotter than average, according to the EU's Copernicus climate monitor.
Temperatures were also notably higher than historic averages in South America, the US atmospheric monitor NOAA said.
Record highs tumbled across France, with the mercury peaking at 46C on June 28 in the southern département of Hérault. The previous record, set back in 2003, was 44.1C.
The second wave of heat this week saw Paris's all-time high pulverised: Meteo-France measured 42.6C in the French capital on Thursday – more than 2C hotter than the previous high, set more than 70 years ago.
Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands all also registered all-time high temperatures.
The World Weather Attribution service this month said June's heatwave was made between 5 and 100 times more likely by man-made climate change.
“Since 2015, we've seen extreme heatwaves every year in Europe,” said Robert Vautard, a climatologist at France's Laboratory of Climate and Environment Sciences.
The first half of 2019 also saw intense heatwaves in Australia, India, Pakistan and parts of the Middle East, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
In mid-July, for the first time on record, thermometers read 21C in Alert, a Canadian outpost that is the most northern settlement on Earth, around 900 kilometres from the North Pole.
That beat the previous record set in 1956, but the number of days where temperatures reach 19-20C have shown a marked increase since 2012.
The last four years are the hottest on record.
Last year was fourth on the list, with an average surface temperature of 1C above pre-industrial levels.
2016 still holds the crown as the hottest year in human history – a full 1.2C above average, aided by a powerful El Nino warming event.
According to the NOAA, the period of January-June 2019 was the second hottest ever measured, hotter even than the same period in 2016.
The WMO estimates 2019 will be among the top five hottest years, and that 2015-2019 will be the hottest five year period ever recorded.
Three papers released this week showed that Earth's temperature was currently warming at a rate and uniformity unparalleled in the past 2,000 years.
Atmospheric CO2 levels are currently around 415 parts per million – the highest concentration in three million years.