July 25th in German History: Record Temperatures Set During the 2019 Heat Wave

July 25 2019 Europe max temperatures.png
A map of the temperatures recorded during the heatwave.

As global climate change has progressed, temperatures have risen across the planet. Most of the damage done has so far been incurred by developing nations, but the first world is not unscathed. In July of 2019, Europe was struck by a heatwave. France was the worst hit, but Germany too saw extremely high temperatures.

The heatwave was caused by a block of hot air trapped between colder storm systems. The block covered the area from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, but France, Germany, and the Low Countries saw the greatest concentration. The heatwave lasted from the 21st to the 28th of July. On July 25th, a temperature of 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in Lingen, a town in Saxony. This temperature beat the record of 104.5 degrees set in 2015. Further, twenty-five weather stations recorded temperatures above 104 degrees. Despite the high temperatures and lack of air conditioning relative to the US, zero people died as a direct result of the temperatures. However, in France, 868 people died, and in Germany, there were numerous hospitalizations for heatstroke and exhaustion. European climatological organizations determined that if not for human-caused climate change, temperatures would have been substantially lower, and in France and the Netherlands, the heatwave would not have happened.

Rising temperatures will continue to become an ever-larger problem for Europe. Record temperatures will be set year after year. Germany will have to invest in air conditioning and other methods to mitigate high temperatures, or will see numerous deaths and hospitalizations. Perhaps worse, developing nations will see large swaths of land become unable to sustain populations or grow crops. This will only increase the number of refugees that flee to Europe. The continent will thus see further destabilization, unless, of course, nations can reduce their emissions in time.

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