Sahara Desert winds that blasted Europe last month, concentrated in a five-day heat wave that left people sweltering, made it the hottest-ever June for the continent — and the world.
"We are likely to see more of these events in the future due to climate change," said Jean-Noël Thépaut of the Copernicus Climate Change Service in a statement about the record-breaking heat.
Temperatures soared as high as 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) in France during the heat wave at the end of June that forced the closure of thousands of schools and had people swimming in the fountains near the Eiffel Tower.
The heat wave was enough to make June top the past global record holder for warmest one, topping June 2016, according to the climate service of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.
“We knew June was hot in Europe," University of Reading hydrology professor Hannah Cloke told the Independent, "but this study shows that temperature records haven’t just been broken — they have been obliterated."
Temperatures averaged 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than normal across Europe last month, with the height of the heat wave from June 25 to June 29.
The blast came during the quarter finals of the Women's World Cup in soccer, attracting world attention.
French meteorologist Ruben Hallali noted the weather pattern's resemblance to "The Scream" in a tweet a few days ahead of the heat wave.
More-intense heat waves are a long-predicted effect of man-made climate change, and scientists from the World Weather Attribution climate service said earlier this week that the June one in France was made five times more likely by global warming.
It will be weeks before officials determine the “excess mortality” from the heat wave, i.e., the unanticipated deaths from heat stroke and other effects, according to that report.
Although the temperatures have dropped in Europe, becoming more like those of a normal summer, weather forecasters have now turned their eyes to Alaska, which is starting to bake in its own record-breaking heat wave.