Europe has the longest unbroken string of weather observations in the world, in some cases going back to the 16th century in certain parts of Germany, Great Britain, France, and Italy — as part of the nascent Renaissance interest in scientific observation as opposed to superstitious guesswork.
That makes it even more disturbing to know that for most parts of Europe the summer of 2019 was the second hottest ever recorded. The record for heat during the months of June, July, and August, has only ever been equaled, or beaten, back in the summer of 1963 — when a brutal heat wave rolled over much of Europe during July, withering crops and dropping people with heat stroke left and right. The summer of 1963 was called the ‘Killer Summer’ by European meteorologists, who predicted that such unprecedented heat would be unlikely to ever return to the continent for hundreds of years.
Today climate scientists know that so-called ‘Killer Summers’ are a fixture for the coming years. The glaciers in Switzerland are melting at an alarming rate. The Mediterranean is evaporating so fast that it’s predicted it will be not much more than a saline pond by 2075.
The countries of Europe are racing to implement new environmental policies to reduce greenhouse gas and erase their carbon footprints. But the haunting question remains: Is it all too little too late?