Europe has had five 500-year summers in 15 years. And now this
A continent without air conditioning struggles with 100-degree days in June—and wonders how it will cope with the hotter years ahead.
Another deadly heat wave has Europe in its sweaty grip this week. Record temperatures topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) in parts of France, Germany, Poland and Spain, with hotter days to come. The same thing happened last year—record-breaking heat was responsible for 700 deaths in Sweden and more than 250 in Denmark, countries that have never needed air conditioning before this new era of climate-change-driven extreme events.
Europe’s five hottest summers in the past 500 years have all occurred in the last 15 years, not including this summer. All have been deadly. The 2003 heat wave was the worst, having led to the deaths of over 70,000 people; in 2010, 56,000 died in Russia alone.