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Europe’s heat wave brings warped runways and burnt dog paws

Heat waves have already struck India, the US and western Europe this year

Children play in the water of a fountain as the temperature crossed 42 degrees Celsius in Nantes, France.  (AFP)

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As record-breaking temperatures sweep Europe, concerns are rising with reports of infrastructure starting to breakdown. In the UK, flights were suspended at London’s Luton Airport and the Royal Air Force’s Brize Norton base with reports of runways melting. The UK’s Network Rail reported a kink in a section of the rail tracks in central London, noting that its temperature had reached 48 degrees Celsius.

Also read: How a heat wave can affect your health

People in affected countries are tweeting about their pets and warning of the risk of heat stroke and burnt paws. Others are posting about how to keep dogs entertained inside. Composer Nick Harvey posted a duet with his pup howling to Glenn Frey’s The Heat Is On.

Top of mind is climate change, which makes heat waves more likely to occur. Over the weekend, Melanie Vogel, a member of the French Senate, tweeted that temperatures of more than 59 Celsius were recorded in Spain and 48 in the south of France. “This is not ‘just summer,’” she said, “It is ‘just hell’ and will pretty soon become ‘just the end of human life’ if we continue with our climate inaction.” 

Temperatures in the UK are set to hit a record Tuesday as a heat wave disrupts travel, schools and business, and poses a risk to lives across the country. The temperature will most likely exceed 40 degrees Celsius across eastern England, breaking the previous record of 38.7°C set at the Cambridge Botanic Garden on July 25, 2019, according to the Met Office.

Increasingly frequent and intense heat waves are the direct result of climate change and temperatures this extreme are set to become more common as the world continues to burn fossil fuels. Heat waves have already struck India, the U.S. and western Europe this year.

The heat wave also set off ferocious wildfires in Spain and France, which evacuated thousands of people and scrambled water-bombing planes and firefighters to battle flames in tinder-dry forests, reports AP. Two people were killed in the blazes in Spain that its prime minister linked to global warming. That toll comes on top of the hundreds of heat-related deaths reported in the Iberian peninsula, as high temperatures have gripped the continent in recent days and triggered wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans. Some areas, including northern Italy, are also experiencing extended droughts. 

Also read: Can open windows keep homes cool at night?

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