Stylized map of Europe.

Enlarge / How the warmest three-day averages from June rank—the darkest red area set new records. (credit: van Oldenborgh et al.)

Much of Europe—and particularly France—has been sweating through an incredible heat wave in recent days, with temperature records falling left and right. Despite it being only June (albeit the hottest June on record in Europe), a station in Gallargues-le-Montueux actually broke France’s all-time high by more than 1.5°C, reaching a sweltering 45.9°C (114.6 °F).

A team of climate scientists with an established method of rapidly analyzing extreme weather events like this has already taken a look at this heat wave. (The study has yet to be peer-reviewed but follows a protocol which has.) The team’s results give a good idea of the role of climate change in this heat wave.

The first question is how to define this weather event. The scientists decided to go with a human-health-relevant definition of the three-day mean temperature rather than a single daily high. They focused on June temperatures for the whole of France, as well as performing a local-scale analysis for just the city of Toulouse—where much of the team coincidentally happened to be attending a conference on weather extremes at the time.

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