Heatwave in Belgium is 'nothing exceptional' say climatologists

Heatwave in Belgium is 'nothing exceptional' say climatologists
The current heatwaves are "not exceptional" say climatologists. Credit: Belga.

Whilst the temperature is expected to reach at least 30 degrees on Monday and continue to climb to 32 degrees on Tuesday, the heatwave announced this week is "nothing exceptional", according to several climatologists.

It will only be officially recognised as "exceptional" if temperatures exceed 30 degrees once again during the week.

According to current forecasts by the Royal Meteorological Institute (IRM), temperatures will likely hit a maximum of 31 degrees on Monday, and 32 on Tuesday, before falling slightly on the following days, but remaining above 25°C.

"We may break a daily record, but the event itself is not exceptional,” said IRM climatologist David Dehenauw.

In Belgium, a heatwave is officially declared when the maximum temperatures are above 25 degrees for at least five consecutive days. Furthermore, at least three of the days must exceed 30 degrees.

"This is a good time for heatwaves, which normally occur from June to September. So there is nothing unusual," confirmed David Doutreloup, a researcher at ULiège's climatology laboratory.

However, these periods of high heat are becoming more frequent. Previously, statistics from the 1990s and early 2000s show that heatwaves were limited to once every three or four years in Belgium. However, “over the past five years, we've had at least one a year," said Doutreloup.

Yet, linking these heatwaves with global warming is premature, stated Doutreloup. "At this stage, this is a hypothesis. The study of climate change is carried out over a period of at least 30 years to obtain significant statistics.”

Madeleine Fletcher

The Brussels Times

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