Aug 3, 2004

Europe recalls lethal 2003 heat wave

France
by
Camille Feanny and Kiesha Porter
,
CNN
The 2003 European heat wave killed nearly 15,000 people in France. Photo: CNN
The 2003 European heat wave killed nearly 15,000 people in France. Photo: CNN

Scientists have cited a variety of factors that all conspired to create disastrous results. Some mention unusual weather patterns similar to El Nino, others say that global warming is to blame. According to Kevin Trenberth, Director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, there are a few possible causes. "A change in global sea temperatures and unusual conditions in the tropics and the tropical area of the Indian Ocean was a factor in creating and sustaining settled air conditions over Europe," he says. "In these conditions air doesn't move around as much and winds do not pick up. Furthermore stagnated air creates perfect conditions for air pollutants to emerge."