Brutal Heat Wave Breaks Temperature Records Across Europe

The heat has been real in Germany.
The heat has been real in Germany.
Photo: AP

Europe is burning. A heat wave—the second in roughly a month—is taking over the continent, and it’s already breaking records. Again. And these are some of the world’s oldest temperature records.


The heat’s gotten so bad that zookeepers in Belgium fed their tigers chickens frozen in giant ice cubes and gave their bears frozen watermelons, reports Reuters. If these animals are suffering, imagine how the people throughout Europe must feel.

Germany saw its temperature break Wednesday as Geilenkirchen, a town in the northwestern corner part of the country near the Netherlands border, reached 104.9 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celsius). The previous record from July 5, 2015, was 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit (40.3 degrees Celsius), according to the DWD German weather service.

Next door in the Netherlands, record temperatures broke, too. On Thursday, the municipality of Gilze en Rijen reached 104.7 degrees Fahrenheit (40.4 degrees Celsius), shooting past the previous record of 104 degrees, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute reports. That previous record was set just a day earlier.

In France, temperatures have been breaking nonstop throughout cities Thursday, according to the French meteorological service. Paris saw its mercury reach 108.6 degrees Fahrenheit (42.6 degrees Celsius); its previous record was 104.7 degrees Fahrenheit (40.38 degrees Celsius) set in 1947. Lille in northern France near the Belgium border broke its record—99.7 degrees Fahrenheit (37.6 degrees Celsius) from just last year—at 104.9 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celcius). Officials are concerned the heat could cause the collapse of the fragile Notre Dame Cathedral, which almost burned to the ground in April.

London is on the verge of breaking the UK’s all-time record, the UK Meteorological Office reports. The city has set a new high for the month of July at 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit (36.88 degrees Celsius), a 0.3-degree increase from the UK’s previous record. The highest temperature the country has seen in recorded history was 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit (38.5 degrees Celsius), and thermometers are expecting to climb higher to potentially shatter that one, too.


This heat is real—and it’s not just Europe. The U.S. experienced a massive heat wave just last week. These types of events will become more severe under climate change. And more people will die as a result. Stay cool, y’all.

Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.


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We Americans should thank Yessenia for reporting temperatures in the correct unit - Fahrenheit. On usage:

The Fahrenheit scale was the primary temperature standard for climatic, industrial and medical purposes in English-speaking countries until the 1960s. In the late 1960s and 1970s, the Celsius scale replaced Fahrenheit in almost all of those countries—with the notable exception of the United States—typically during their general metrication process.

If you click on the link “metrication” wikipedia will take you to “The Communist Party of the Soviet Union.”