Extreme wildfire risk alerts are in place in several European countries amid a record-breaking heatwave.

Alerts for extreme wildfire risk are in place in several European countries amid a record-breaking heatwave. (Image credit: Copernicus)

Satellite data shows smashed temperature records, the highest risk of wildfires and broiling soil, as Europe swelters in an extreme heatwave that is set to intensify a widespread dry spell.

The latest heatwave shows that Europe is warming faster than the rest of the world. In the United Kingdom, which is known for its warm summers and cloudy skies, Tuesday was the first time in history that the temperature reached 105 degrees.

The Met Office in the UK announced that a new all-time high temperature had been recorded. The new record of 104.5 degrees F (40.2 degrees C) may not last long as temperatures were still rising at that time, the Met Office said.

Climate change can be seen from space.

One of the countries with the highest alert for the risk of wildfires is the U.K. Italy, France, and Spain are all on high alert, with the latter two still fighting devastating fires.

Over 150 square miles of land in France, Spain and Portugal have burned to the ground in the last ten days. The conditions in these areas will make it easy for fires to spread.

The first day of the heatwave's peak temperature was 122 degrees F (50 degrees C) on Monday.

map of temperatures

Land temperatures in the U.K. amid a record-breaking heatwave in July 2022 measured by satellites. (Image credit: NCEO/University of Leicester)

The hot spots on the map were found in the capital London, where concrete and building material absorb the heat.

"Space based observations of the temperature of the surface of the land offer unparalleled knowledge of the spatial structure of these heatwave events," said a researcher at the National Centre for Earth Observation.

The heat that comes from the ground affects how hot the air gets.

According to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), the current heatwave is set to increase the severity of the long-term dry spell in Europe.

The Jrc said in a statement that low soil water content affects vegetation and hydropower production in countries that rely on it. Some European regions only received a small amount of precipitation during the winter and spring season.

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