France and Spain are seeing unusually high temperatures this month – adding to worries about climate change-related shifts to the planet’s weather.
In Hossegor in southwestern France, people flocked to the beach as temperatures hit 29 degrees on Thursday. Some lifeguards extended their working period to cope with the rise in visitors because of the high temperatures.
At the same time, Spain is experiencing its hottest October since records began.
At Morón de la Frontera in southern Spain, temperatures surpassed 34.5 degrees Celsius. And every day of the month, except 1 October, has been warmer than usual.
The high temperatures and lack of rain have caused some regions to impose water restrictions.
For the past week, residents in L’Espluga de Francoli in eastern Spain haven’t had access to drinking water for half of the day.
In Galicia, Catalonia, and Andalusia, reservoirs have dropped to around 40 per cent of their capacity.
Climate experts also raised concerns this week when the UN weather agency announced greenhouse gases hit record high levels.
“In all of those three gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide), we have again broken new records. So, we haven’t seen any real improvement in the atmosphere so far,” said Petteri Taalas, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has also said there is “no credible pathway” to prevent global temperatures from surpassing 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures, a goal set by the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.
“We had our chance to make incremental changes, but that time is over,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
“Only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster.”