The recent heatwaves in Southern Europe don’t suggest a complete change in weather patterns, but an increase in intensity.
That's according to meteorologist Alan O’Reilly, who told The Pat Kenny Show the hellishly-named heatwaves are caused by ‘heat domes’.
“We have high pressure existing over north Africa and southern Europe which is keeping very stable air and it’s getting warmer and warmer,” he said.
“Temperatures are getting hotter day by day, with little respite at night.”
Temperatures in countries like Italy, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus are set to reach into the high 40s, potentially breaking the current temperature record in Italy (48.8 degrees Celsius).
Spain has also seen intense wildfires in La Palma as a result of heatwaves, forcing 4,000 people to flee.
Mr O’Reilly said these weather events are not complete changes in climate, but rather an increased intensity of it.
“It's like the rainfall events we’ve seen in Ireland,” he said. “Climate change is not changing our weather dramatically but it’s changing the increasing intensity of these events.
“We always would have had very hot weather at times in these parts of Europe [but] many countries broke their temperatures records last year.
"The extremes are more extreme."
Mr O’Reilly said the main concern is the health risks caused by increased temperatures.
“Many parts of Europe are learning, they’re creating sports hall with air conditioning that people can go to,” he said.
“But sadly, with temperatures not dropping very low at night, they do cause excess deaths.”
Health authorities in countries such as Spain have issued serious warnings for people in Spain, particularly holidaymakers not as used to high temperatures.
“They're being advised by health officials here not to get complacent about such extreme heat,” Alicante-based reporter Joan Larkin said.
“Drink lots of water, avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can dehydrate the body and to stay out of the sun between midday and 4pm.”
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