The heat wave that scorched Europe last week has broken another record: The reading of 101.7 degrees Fahrenheit in Cambridge, England, was the United Kingdom’s all-time highest temperature, scientists officially announced Monday.
This breaks the previous record of 101.3 degrees, which was set during the August 2003 heat wave.
The temperature was recorded Thursday and confirmed Monday after “quality control and analysis” by the Met Office.
“Exceptionally high temperatures gripped large parts of central and western Europe last week, and the U.K. joins Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands in breaking national temperature records,” the U.K. Met Office said in a statement.
The hot, dry air originated in Africa and was pumped north across the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. This was a similar set-up to the heat wave that blasted Europe at the end of June.
According to the Met Office, which is Britain’s national weather service, heat waves are extreme weather events, but research shows that with climate change they are likely to become more intense.
Bob Ward, director of policy at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said “the confirmation that we broke the all-time U.K. temperature record last week is a disturbing milestone. The previous record was set during the summer heat wave in 2003 when more than 2,000 people died in the U.K. and more than 50,000 died in Europe.
“Heat waves are becoming more frequent, and more intense, due to climate change, and the risk of heat-related deaths is increasing,” Ward said. “Sadly this trend will continue for the next few decades, and so we will have to adapt more quickly, for instance by ensuring our buildings do not dangerously overheat.”
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