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Europe’s Heat Waves Offer a Grim Vision of the Future

Extreme temperatures are the direct result of climate change

Portugal, whose landscape reveals rolling hills speckled with olive trees and centuries-old stone villages, became a landscape of fear this summer. When a heat wave began to steamroll the country in early July, residents were forced indoors to take what refuge they could behind drawn shutters while outside the heat continued to bake forests and crops already parched from a prolonged drought.

Aided by swift winds and dry conditions, the intense heat sparked dozens of wildfires across the country and in neighboring Spain. Portuguese farmers fled the flames carrying sheep on their backs. Near the Quinta do Lago golf resort in the south, drivers had to turn back as flames and smoke eddied across highways. Even in areas not directly touched by the flames, such as the coastal city of Aveiro, residents struggled to breathe as smoke from fires raging a few miles to the east enveloped some neighborhoods. Thousands were evacuated from their homes across the country.

As blazes burned across Portugal, the searing heat smashed records. In Pinhão, a picturesque village perched on the banks of the Douro River in North Central Portugal, temperatures hit 47.2 degrees Celsius, according to reports from the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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