Headline, July 27 2022/ CLIMATE : ''' '' HEAT LESSONS HEAT '' '''



SCIENTISTS SAY THAT HEAT WAVES HAVE INCREASED in frequency and intensity faster in Europe than in almost any other part of the planet.

The heat wave led to huge wildfires in France, Spain, Italy and Greece, and parts of England reached 40 degrees Celsius - 104 degrees Fahrenheit - for the first time on record Tuesday, while Paris hit that mark for only the third time.

It is part of a worrying trend, driven by global warming, with temperatures worldwide on average about 2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in the late century, before emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases became widespread.

WHEN storm clouds rolled into London on Tuesday evening, the rain brought with it much-needed relief for sweltering city residents after a day of record breaking heat that drove wildfires, disrupted train travel and strained the city's infrastructure and health services.

The heat had cleared on Wednesday but it left behind a city newly full of anxieties about how London and other European cities can cope with the rising frequency of such extreme weather events.

Philipp Rode, an executive director of LSE Cities, a research center at the London School of Economics, said that criticism before the heat wave that warnings from the meteorologists, the media, urban planners and climate scientists had been ''hysterical'' proved on Tuesday to be false.

''That idea has been completely debunked, because the effects are fairly dramatic,'' Dr. Rode said. ''Particularly the fires became very symbolic for not just the unpreparedness, but also for not really appreciating what has been said for decades - that this would happen.

London and other European cities at northern latitudes, where historically heat was a rare threat but cold a frequent one, need to adapt to remain livable, Dr. Rode said.

''We have prepared a very sophisticated infrastructure system - the railways, the energy systems, all the way to how we design school buildings and hospitals - for very specific climate,'' he said with planning across Britain around a temperature span of around negative 10 to 35 degrees Celsius [ 14 to 95 Fahrenheit ].

''And yesterday we exceeded that, and that then results in these collapses.''

London Ambulance Service said in a statement that there had been a sustained demand for the service, which put the organization under ''extreme pressure '' as a direct result of the heatwave. Early data showed that on Tuesday, there was a tenfold increase from the previous week in emergency calls to treat heat exposure.

SADIQ KHAN, the mayor of London, said on Wednesday morning that Tuesday had been the city fire service's busiest day since World War II. Fire destroyed some 41 properties, many of them near grassy areas that had turned to kindling in the brutal heat, allowing blazes to spread quickly.

''It shows the consequences of climate change with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees,'' Mr. Khan said in an interview with BBC News.

Extreme weather fueled by climate change has also hit European cities with severe flooding. A year ago, fierce summer storms wreaked havoc from Britain to Croatia. West Germany was hit hardest, with nearly 200 people killed, and London received a month's worth of rain in one day, bringing much of the city to a standstill.

Dr. Rode noted : ''I think what we can hope for is that it's a wake-up call,'' he said. ''People must appreciate that while you can of course prepare better, this is just a taste of what's to come.''

Homes in northern Europe were largely built to retain heat, not dissipate it, and many are poorly ventilated. In a dense city like London, poor air quality, abundant pavement and a relative absence of greenery all reinforce each other's effects, said Lean Doody, who leads the integrated cities and planning network for Arup, a British engineering firm.

''I think things need to happen a lot quicker,'' Ms. Doody said. ''It should be well known that there are these risks, but I think that it's like everything - the day-to-day takes over.''

The Honour, and Concern of serving the Latest Global Operational Research on the State-of-the-World and Climate Change, continues. The World Students Society thanks Megan Specia.

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