Spain suspends train services between Madrid and Galicia due to fire near tracks
From CNN's Jorge Engels
Spain’s railway administrator on Monday morning local time suspended services between two localities in the country’s northwest due to a fire close to the tracks, according to Spain’s state-owned railway company RENFE.
Social media footage filmed from inside one of the carriages showed a static train with fires flanking both sides of the train and worried passengers found themselves surrounded by flames.
The suspension affects all trains on the Madrid-Galicia route and is active until further notice. It is unclear whether the services have restarted.
CNN has reached out to RENFE but did not receive an immediate reply.
RENFE organized an alternative highway route between the station of Zamora and Sanabria in the Castille and Leon region for passengers whose trains had already left their stations.
“At all times the actions undertaken by Renfe have been aimed at maintaining the safety of the service and guaranteeing the integrity of the passengers,” RENFE said in a statement.
Some context: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday more than 70,000 hectares have been destroyed in Spain because of fires this year.
“70,000 hectares, to give you an idea is almost double of the last decade’s average. So far this year we have had 11 big fires,” he said.
Almost the entire country faces and extreme fire risk with many regions now classed as an "extreme" level of heat, according to Spain’s national weather agency AEMET.
On Monday, Spain was facing the eighth of a more than week-long heatwave, which caused more than 510 heat-related deaths, according to the latest figures from the Carlos III Health Institute.
5:04 p.m. ET, July 18, 2022
Britain's Network Rail asks people not to travel on Tuesday in anticipation of record-high temperatures
Network Rail, which owns, operates and develops Britain’s rail infrastructure, is asking people not to travel Tuesday due to extreme heat.
The company said in a tweet the East Coast Main Line will be closed and no services will run between London King's Cross and York and Leeds.
"A combination of extremely high local forecast temperatures and temperatures well in excess of those for which the infrastructure is designed for on the East Coast Main Line has led to this decision," it said on its website.
Network Rail also said conditions on other routes are subject to change depending on the weather. Extreme heat can cause the rail to expand, causing it to bend and buckle, the company says, adding the high temperatures can also be dangerous for workers.
Read the tweet:
5:30 p.m. ET, July 18, 2022
Record temperatures registered across western France
From CNN’s Xiaofei Xu
Records for high temperatures were broken across many cities and towns in the west of France on Monday as the country continues to battle wildfires burning in its southwestern region of Gironde.
The town of Cazaux, threatened by the raging wildfires in Gironde, recorded 42.4 degrees Celsius (108.3 degrees Fahrenheit), the hottest it has ever seen since its weather station first opened more than 100 years ago in 1921, according to the French national meteorological service Météo France.
Major cities in Western France, such as Nantes and Brest have also seen their records updated by the heatwave on Monday — Nantes saw 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and Brest 39.3 degrees Celsius (102.7 degrees Fahrenheit), according to Météo France.
Temperatures in the west are expected to be lower on Tuesday compared to Monday as the center of the heatwave moves toward the center and east of the country. Paris is expected to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) Tuesday.
4:32 p.m. ET, July 18, 2022
Elderly couple dies while trying to flee Portugal wildfires in vehicle
From CNN's Jorge Engels in London
Two people died Monday while trying to drive away from wildfires in northern Portugal, the country's state broadcaster RTP reported.
The elderly couple, who were in their 70s, died after their vehicle overturned and fell into a ravine in the municipality of Murca, according to RTP.
“I cannot but deeply regret the car accident that led to two deaths in the municipality of Murça and present my condolences to the families of the victims," Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said, the state media reported.
Monday's incident comes after a pilot of a firefighting plane died in a crash during a firefighting operation in the northeast of the country on Friday.
4:42 p.m. ET, July 18, 2022
How extreme heat is making some cities unlivable for many
From CNN's Rachel Ramirez
When a heat wave hits a city, it wreaks havoc across societies, putting many lives at risk, according to Vanesa Castán Broto, professor of climate urbanism at the University of Sheffield in the UK.
Heat waves, like the one Europe is experiencing right now, cause ripple effects that ultimately “impact the systems that enable our cities to work,” she said. Extremely hot temperatures cause power outages, buckle transportation systems, strain health services, decrease worker productivity, and overall affect the health of individuals that live in the area.
“You can make a long list of all the impacts; we have to remember that when we have an impact of climate change in a city, those can have cascading effects,” Castán Broto told CNN.
She continued: “The main one is how it impacts health and increase premature deaths. And we know that these health impacts are going to be particularly severe on populations that are already marginalized, at risk, and vulnerable in some way.”
During heat waves, cities — so-called urban heat islands — can be especially dangerous, since these are areas with a lot of asphalt, buildings and freeways that absorb the sun's energy and then radiate more heat. The phenomenon, called the urban heat island effect, amplifies a heat wave's already punishing consequences — and it doesn't fall equally across communities.
The climate crisis has already fueled mass-casualty extreme heat events such as the US Pacific Northwest heat wave last year. And now, experts say European cities are still largely underprepared for punishing heat.
"I really hope that, at the very least, these impacts change the minds of people in cities to kind of try to create cities that are more adapted to more heat waves," she added. "There are a lot of things we can do and they're not being done right."
To tackle such heat-related risks and vulnerabilities in cities, Castán Broto said a wider range of measures is necessary, including implementing early warning systems, retrofitting buildings to be energy-efficient cooling areas, and creating more public green spaces.
"Public space is really important," she said. "When people, for example, live in a house that is very hot, having a place that they can go to and refresh themselves can be really valuable."
"You see a lot of people go to malls because there's air conditioning, but that's not sustainable," Castán Broto added. "What would be more sustainable is to have well-maintained public spaces with shadows or shades, that's not privately controlled, where people can really enjoy and have a space, especially for those that don't have a home."
3:49 p.m. ET, July 18, 2022
UK experiences its third hottest day on record
From CNN’s Alex Hardie
The UK experienced its third hottest day on record, as well as the hottest day of the year so far on Monday, according to the Meteorological Office, which is the UK's national weather service.
The top temperature in the UK on Monday was 38.1 degrees Celsius (100.58 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded in Santon Downham, Suffolk.
Monday was the UK’s third hottest day on record, after 38.7 degrees Celsius (101.66 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded at Cambridge Botanic Garden in July 2019 and 38.5 degrees Celsius (101.3 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003.
The Met Office is warning that Tuesday is likely to be even hotter, after it issued its first ever Red warning for exceptional heat, covering both Monday and Tuesday.
4:52 p.m. ET, July 18, 2022
Scientists warn of "disastrous" impacts of increasing global temperatures — and this chart shows the turning point
From CNN staff
Heat waves are becoming more intense because of the rise in global temperature, which has devastating effects on landscapes, ecosystems and even the human body.
It is made up of billions of individual measurements of a thermometer made by tens of thousands of people. Each of the 172 colored stripes signifies one year.
After 1970, there is a "rapid change in color" from oranges to dark reds "highlighting how quickly things have changed over the last 40 or 50 years," Hawkins previously told CNN.
"The consequences in a warmer world are more extreme heat waves. As the temperatures increase, heat waves get hotter and in many regions that will be increase risk of wildfires, especially for areas getting dryer," Hawkins said.
Raging wildfires have scorched thousands of hectares of forest in France and Spain, while Britain is set to face its hottest day on record amid a searing heat wave on Monday.
Sweltering temperatures in Portugal this week have exacerbated a drought that started before the heat wave, according to data from the national meteorological institute. About 96% of the mainland was already suffering severe or extreme drought at the end of June.
But the global rising of temperatures and heat waves don't affect all parts of the world the same. Data shows the planet is warming fastest in the Arctic and in the northern latitudes it is warming faster over land that in the ocean.
"There's no threshold at which things go from safe to being disastrous. Things just get worse as the temperature increasing," Hawkins said.
Global impacts: As temperatures rise, so does the likelihood of climate migration as people flee regions that are too hot to live in. Heat is also felt more intensely in urban centers because of the lack of green spaces. Scientists say buildings and concrete absorb the sun's energy and then radiate heat, as opposed to parks and grassy areas that absorb less.
"It's very important to put in place adaptations like nature-based solutions and cooling and action plans for heat waves," Chloe Brimicombe, an environmental climate science PhD researcher at the University of Reading, previously told CNN.
Some of the cooling systems like air conditioning are actually driving energy demands, which for most countries, mans an increase in fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency. This same fossil fuel usage and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions is also a main contributor to climate change — one of the reasons why global temperatures are warming so quickly.
"If we want to stabilize the planets temperature, to help global warming, then we need to reduce our emissions to net zero," Hawkins said.
Net zero emissions can be achieved by removing as much greenhouse gas from the atmosphere as what's emitted, so the net amount added is zero. To do this, countries and companies will need to rely on natural methods — like planting trees or restoring grasslands — to soak up carbon dioxide (CO2), the most abundant greenhouse gas we emit, or use technology to "capture" the gas and store it away where it won't escape into the atmosphere.
"The future is in our hands. our choices over the coming decades will determine how warm the planet will get," he added.
Watch: All the changes in global temperature since 1850
2:42 p.m. ET, July 18, 2022
Ireland records its highest temperature in over a century
From CNN’s Kara Fox and Sugam Pokharel
Ireland on Monday recorded 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) at Phoenix Park in Dublin, the country's highest-ever recorded temperature in over a century and a new record for the month of July, the Irish Meteorological Service said.
“Highest air temperature recorded today was 33.0C at the Phoenix Park, Co. Dublin. This is a new all time national record for the month of July, and the highest air temperature recorded in Ireland the 20th and 21st centuries,” Met Éireann, Ireland's national meteorological service, said in a tweet.
Monday's temperature at Phoenix Park is only 0.3 degrees Celsius below the all-time 135-year-old record set at Kilkenny Castle in Ireland in 1887, the Irish Observational Climatology said.
1:42 p.m. ET, July 18, 2022
Global heat records are outpacing cool records by 10-to-1 this year
From CNN's Brandon Miller
Hot-temperature records are far outpacing cool records across the globe so far this year as Europe and the United States brace again for dangerous heat waves.
In the US alone, 92 all-time record high temperatures had been set through July 16, compared with only five all-time record low temperatures.
Studies have shown that extreme heat will increase in frequency, intensity and duration because of the climate crisis and that extremes will occur more frequently on the hot side compared to cold.
Gabriel Vecchi, a climate scientist and geosciences professor at Princeton University, told CNN that the hot-and-cold record imbalance is a signal of the climate crisis, and scientists have noted a trend in recent years that hot extremes are outpacing cold ones.
"This is what you would expect from a planetary warming that's been driven in large part from greenhouse gases; this is now the world we're living in," Vecchi told CNN, noting that "it's fair to think that almost every heatwave that we see right now has some influence from global warming."