Publication Date July 25, 2019 | Washington Post

In Europe, a historic heat wave is shattering records with astonishing ease, may hasten Arctic melt


A historic heat wave is bringing unprecedented temperatures to Western Europe, and is poised to expand northeastward to Scandinavia and into the Arctic by late this weekend. Once above the Arctic Circle, the weather system responsible for this heat wave could accelerate the loss of sea ice, which is already running at a record low for this time of year.


Already on Wednesday, all-time national heat records in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany had fallen, right on the heels of a late June heat wave that broke similar records in France and other countries. The German meteorological agency noted that Wednesday’s national record of 104.9 degrees (40.5 Celsius) may last just a day before being broken on Thursday.

It’s difficult to beat all-time heat records in mid-July, considering this is the hottest time of year. It’s even more unusual to beat these records by a large margin, which is what is occurring now.