Europe is going through an intense and prolonged heat wave, putting the authorities of the most affected countries on alert. Temperatures are expected to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in cities in Spain, Greece, France, Croatia and Turkey, while in Italy they may even reach 48.8 degrees Celsius.

An anti-cyclone, named Cerberus, named after the monster from Dante’s Inferno, is coming from the south and causing temperatures to rise above 40°C across much of Italy. This is after a spring and early summer of storms and flooding.


Experts attribute the causes of the heat wave to three main factors, the El Niño phenomenon, the anticyclone “Cervero” and climate change.

According to the experts, Europe is not directly affected by the El Niño phenomenon and the high temperatures are due to the anticyclone and climate change.

The heatwave is affecting many cities across Europe with surface temperatures reaching 46°C in Rome, Italy, while Madrid and Seville in Spain reached 46°C and 47°C, respectively.


Authorities in Italy have issued a red alert for ten major Italian cities, including Florence and Rome. In Sardinia and Sicily the maximum temperature will reach 48.8 degrees Celsius.


“Europe is not directly affected by El Niño phenomena, so probably the anticyclone and climate change are the main contributors to this heat wave,” said Dr Melissa Lazenby, a lecturer in climate change at the University of Sussex in Britain.

“It is not possible to identify all the factors and their exact contribution to the current heatwave in Europe, only a full post-event performance study will demonstrate the exact factors and their percentage of impact on the event,” Dr Lazenby explained.

“We can have no doubt that a critical factor behind this warming is carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Until we rapidly reduce emissions from fossil fuels, extreme events like the heatwave we’re currently seeing in Europe will become increasingly likely,” said Dr Leslie Maybon, lecturer in Environmental Systems at the Open University.

Extreme temperatures in Europe follow record-breaking global temperatures. On Monday, the World Meteorological Organization said the planet experienced its hottest days on record in the first few days of July.


This follows the hottest June on record, with unprecedented sea surface temperatures. According to a report by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, June 2023 was just over 0.5°C above the 1991-2020 average.

This heat coincides with the onset of El Niño, the natural phenomenon that warms the Pacific Ocean. The global temperature is expected to rise further and more weather records will be broken.

According to a study recently published in Nature Medicine, more than 60,000 people died due to last summer’s heatwaves across Europe. The highest death rate was in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal. This summer is likely to be worse. The Red Cross urged locals and tourists to be extra cautious and pay attention to those most vulnerable to the high temperature.