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The record breaking heatwave that is gripping northern Europe

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The record breaking heatwave that is gripping northern Europe

The record breaking heatwave that is gripping northern Europe
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Numerous locations across northern Europe have witnessed their hottest temperatures over the past weeks. Record high temperatures have settled as an unusually prolonged and broad heatwave is intensifying and triggering drought and wildfires across the region.

This is the latest episode of what's been an exceptionally hot, dry late spring and summer so far in the northern hemisphere.

A ridge of high pressure has intensified over Scandinavia, northern Europe and northwestern Russia possibly persisting into early August.

This also means drought across the region is likely to worsen over the next few weeks, with the danger of additional wildfires.

Large areas of heat pressure scattered around the hemisphere have led to the sweltering temperatures.

Since May, an expansive high-pressure ridge aloft has stretched across most of northern Europe, from Ireland and the U.K. to Scandinavia.

Copernicus European Drought Observatory has issued an analysis of the ongoing drought and above average temperatures in Central-Northern Europe.

According to the EU's global monitoring site, there is a potential risk to agricultural drought — areas where vegetation is already affected by drought conditions — and areas in the process of recovery to normal conditions after a drought episode.

Copernicus
Situation of Combined Drought Indicator in Europe - 1st ten-day period of July 2018Copernicus

Under the current conditions, the areas affected by drought are widespread across most of central and northern Europe.

Specifically, figures indicate a high deficit in soil moisture across Scandinavia, northern half of Germany, and the UK.

The World Meteorological Association has warned of droughts, wildfires and harvest losses after the second hottest June on record.

Germany is struggling with a parched harvest as the heatwave is ruining farmers’ crops. There are fears that many German growers could go bankrupt if they suffer another crop failure.

The first half of summer – June 1 through July 16 – was the driest in modern records for the U.K., according to the U.K. Met Office.

Britain’s record summer heatwave is expected to continue into August, while temperatures of above 30C are forecast to return this coming weekend.

Britain has been so badly scorched by the heatwave that images show golf courses reduced from a lush green to a shade of brown.

Reuters
The grass on many of the golf courses in the UK are scorchedReuters

The warm and dry weather has been causing intense quick-moving forest fires across Sweden this summer.

Sweden’s national website for emergency information has reported, on several occasions, forest fire risks and dangerously high temperatures.

Swedish farmers are also struggling with the drought crisis as they haven’t had a proper rainfall in weeks. As a result the government is preparing economic relief for farmers hit by the dry weather.