Heat Wave in Europe
August 18, 2003
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Norman Kuring
During the past several weeks, Europe has been in the sweaty grip of a record-breaking heat wave. In fact, all-time record maximum temperatures have been recorded in several cities of western Europe. For instance, London recorded a temperature of over 100 degrees F (37.8 C) for the first time ever! It was reported that in France over 3,000 people died due to this unprecedented heat wave. Essentially, Europe has become an extension of the Sahara Desert. The above true-color SeaWiFS image shows that Europe is basically cloud-free. Note the haze over England, Belgium, the Netherlands, and northwestern portions France. This is likely a combination of dust from North Africa, summertime air pollution and smoke from wild fires, resulting from the heat and lack of rain.