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WEATHER

French summer was officially the coldest and dampest since 2014

The latest report from French weather forecaster Météo France shows that this summer was an outlier after several years of heatwaves.

French summer was officially the coldest and dampest since 2014
Floods gripped parts of northern France, Germany and Belgium this summer (Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP)

Across Europe, temperatures in June and July were the second hottest in European history. Italy’s heatwave saw a record high temperature of 48.8C.  Fires broke out in Greece, Italy and even the French Var region.

But France, particularly in the north of the country, has experienced particularly drizzly, cool and miserable weather over the past few months.

According to figures released by Météo France on Tuesday, this has been the coldest and dampest summer on record since 2014.

Compared to last year, there was an average increase of 23 percent in rainfall across the country – this figure climbed to 40 percent in the northern half of the France which saw extensive flooding over the summer along with Germany and Belgium. The report describes a ‘deficit’ of sunshine across various parts of the country in July and August, contributing to below average temperatures.  

This weather, says the report, was caused by the absence of the so-called Azores High – an anti-cyclone. Typically, this high-pressure anti-cyclone drifts across the Atlantic Ocean in a north-easterly direction every summer, bringing warm temperatures with it. For much of this summer, it moved in the opposite direction.

But from a historical perspective, this year’s weather was not out of the ordinary.

As a result of climate change, heatwaves have become increasingly common in France and across the world, in what has become the ‘new normal’.

In an interview with Le Parisien, meteorologist Cyrille Duchesne said: “It is because we are used to it [hot temperatures] that we think this summer has been worse. However, this is the 15th hottest summer since 1900.”

At the launch of the latest report from Météo France, climate scientist Matthieu Sorel warned that cooler summer temperatures this year should not lull us into a false sense of security with regards to climate change.

“This summer has been like a respite in the series of summers that we have experienced since 2015,” he said. “We are unlikely to relive it again because the effects of climate change will lead to summer periods that are hotter and dryer year on year.”

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ENVIRONMENT

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Across south west France trapping campaigns have begun in an attempt to control the numbers of dangerous Asian hornets.

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Trapping campaigns are organised annually at this time of year, as the weather begins to get warmer and queens begin to emerge from hibernation.

And the Charente-Maritime town of Royan Atlantique, on France’s west coast, is leading the way, as the below video shows.

Experts say that now is the time to begin using the traps, as catching queen hornets in the process of building their nests will lead to far fewer insects later in the year. 

Some 2,000 traps are installed in and around Royan this year, including 300 that were distributed to householders in the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Once installed, the traps can capture several dozen insects at a time.

In order to capture a maximum of hornet queens, traps should be installed between mid-February and mid-May. Especially since during this period, these predators end up coming out of their hibernation.

It is believed Asian hornets arrived in France around 2004. They have now spread nationwide.

Although their venom is not more powerful than that of normal bees or wasps, they are known to be more aggressive towards humans, and their stings can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people.

The hornets also damage beehives and kill bees, damaging honey stocks and destroying the native ecosystem.

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