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June 29, 2019

As surging mercury haunts Europe...: Expats in UAE ponder to stay back in desert


June 29, 2019

LAHORE: Affluent Pakistanis, who normally seek respite in the relatively much cooler Europe during the extremely hot and humid summer months, must be dismayed to learn that as it was the case in June last year, when prolonged high temperatures were witnessed across much of the European continent, a severe heat wave has again gripped countries including Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and Austria etc.

The perils of drastic climate changes across the globe, triggered by unabated deforestation, unchecked emission of greenhouse gases, excessive fuel burning and melting glaciers are thus beginning to haunt Europe.

For Pakistanis, who wish to beat the heat, a better option would be the country's fabulous Northern areas, which are still devoid of adequate boarding, lodging, food and road facilities etc despite the ever-increasing tourist traffic.

In the United Kingdom, where rains had washed-out many games in the ongoing Cricket World Cup till last week, temperatures have reached the high 20s in Scotland and Wales, a total contrast to late May and early June situation, where spectators watching World Cup in stadiums across England were seen fighting extremely chilly and windy weather.

According to “The Guardian”, mercury has touched top 30s in some parts. The newspaper writes: “On Saturday (today), temperatures will rise further in parts of central and eastern England, with 30C to 34C possible. But a cold front will reach the country on Sunday, lowering temperatures again. Warm air is rising across Europe from North Africa, bringing high temperatures right across the continent. The UK has remained cooler, partly as a result of being further from the source of the warm air and partly because of the cooling effects of the North Sea, Met Office experts said.”

“The Guardian” has further stated: “is not possible to pin the current heat wave definitively on climate change, because the weather varies so much naturally. Moreover, the likely effects of climate change are not simple. For example, heavy rain and cloudy weather across swathes of northern Europe, including the UK, are likely to become more common as a result of the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing the jet stream weather system to become fixed in position. However, this year’s weather is certainly in line with the predictions scientists have made of rising temperatures, more heat waves and prolonged droughts interspersed with periods of heavy flooding in some areas.”

Meanwhile, fire-fighters have battled wildfires at a scale not seen for 20 years in Spain and southern France. With temperatures in northern Spain and southern France set to exceed 44C, governments in these two countries have urged their citizens to take the utmost precaution, warning that in some areas the worst was yet to come.

Impact on farmers and roads in some parts of Europe: “The Guardian” adds: “There is the impact on farmers. While warm weather at the right time is crucial for many crops during their growing periods, excessively high temperatures can inhibit growth, particularly if they are prolonged. Livestock can also suffer in the heat and need extra care. The problems do not stop there, as Germany’s melting roads have shown, Europe's infrastructure is not built to cope with such extremes, and adapting it is likely to be expensive and take decades. Finally, one of the ironies of the climate emergency is that hot weather encourages greater use of air conditioning.”

Interestingly enough, as the “Gulf News” has pointed out, the expats in the very hot, though fully air-conditioned UAE, might just be better off staying in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi etc as temperatures in their respective countries have soared to within just a few degrees short of what the mercury levels currently are in the Emirates.

The newspaper has reported: “When asked by “Gulf News”, many said that if it wasn’t for getting to see their family they would probably opt to stay in the Emirates considering the heat wave because European infrastructure isn't as accustomed to dealing with the heat as it is

in Dubai.”

The media house quoted an Italian expat as saying: “Rome is not built for this heat. If it wasn’t for my son getting to see his grandmother, I would rather be here in Dubai during such heat, because there is better air conditioning. Climate change is definitely a reason for this heat.”

It is pertinent to note that temperatures in Rome are currently hitting highs of 38 degrees, just one or two degrees short of Dubai.

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