Heatmaps show cities have turned into “urban heat islands” as temperatures soared in parts of Europe in June.

The slightest mention of heat in the UK leads to ice cream selling out, barbecues heating up and shorts dusting off as the nation celebrates.

In June this year, the air temperature in some parts of the country soared to over 90 °F (33 °C)while the sharp increase was also felt in Europe, the US and Asia.

Temperatures were recorded as 18 °F (10 °C) above average for this time of year in many cities, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

But the new heat maps released European Space Agency (ESA) show that this cannot be a cause for joy.

They show that heat dissipates more slowly in urban areas, creating “heat islands” and making life more difficult.

Experts are concerned that this effect will only get worse as climate change continues.

Heat maps show that heat dissipates more slowly in urban areas, creating “heat islands” and making life more difficult. Pictured: A heat map from ECOSTRESS showing ground surface temperatures in Milan on June 18, 2022.

Experts are concerned that this effect will only get worse as climate change continues.  Pictured: Heat map from ECOSTRESS showing ground surface temperatures in Paris on June 18, 2022.

Experts are concerned that this effect will only get worse as climate change continues. Pictured: Heat map from ECOSTRESS showing ground surface temperatures in Paris on June 18, 2022.

An instrument aboard the International Space Station recorded recent extreme ground temperatures in Milan, Paris and Prague.  Pictured: Heat map from ECOSTRESS showing ground surface temperatures in Prague on June 18, 2022.

An instrument aboard the International Space Station recorded recent extreme ground temperatures in Milan, Paris and Prague. Pictured: Heat map from ECOSTRESS showing ground surface temperatures in Prague on June 18, 2022.

City images taken by ECOSTRESS show ground temperatures in Milan, Paris and Prague on June 18 in the morning.  Pictured: A heat map showing ground surface temperatures in Western Europe on June 18, 2022.

City images taken by ECOSTRESS show ground temperatures in Milan, Paris and Prague on June 18 in the morning. Pictured: A heat map showing ground surface temperatures in Western Europe on June 18, 2022.

WHAT IS URBAN HEAT ISLAND?

An urban heat island occurs when temperatures are higher in urban areas than in nearby rural areas where there is more vegetation.

This is because natural ground cover, such as vegetation, has been replaced by surfaces that do not absorb or retain heat, such as sidewalks and buildings.

The ECOSTRESS images show how hot the surface was in built-up parts of cities, as well as the cooling effect of grassy parks, vegetation and water.

An instrument aboard the International Space Station recorded recent extreme ground temperatures in Milan, Paris and Prague.

The device is called ECOSTRESS and is owned by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

It provides geospatial information to help plan and manage water resources for future heat waves.

City images taken by ECOSTRESS show ground temperatures in Milan, Paris and Prague on June 18 in the morning.

The surface temperature of the earth is different from the temperature of the air, since the latter is indicated in weather forecasts and is a measure of how hot the air is above the ground.

What ECOSTRESS measures is how hot the actual surface of the earth will feel to the touch.

This serves as the best indicator of how heat rising from the Earth’s surface affects weather and climate patterns.

An urban heat island occurs when temperatures are higher in urban areas than in nearby rural areas where there is more vegetation.

This is because natural ground cover, such as vegetation, has been replaced by surfaces that do not absorb or retain heat, such as sidewalks and buildings.

The ECOSTRESS images show how hot the surface was in built-up parts of cities, as well as the cooling effect of grassy parks, vegetation and water.

Crowds enjoyed hot weather on June 17, 2022 in Bournemouth, England, during a heatwave driven by hot air from North Africa traveling through Spain.

Crowds enjoyed hot weather on June 17, 2022 in Bournemouth, England, during a heatwave driven by hot air from North Africa traveling through Spain.

A man cools off in the Trocadero fountains in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on June 18, 2022, amid record high temperatures sweeping France and Western Europe.

A man cools off in the Trocadero fountains in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on June 18, 2022, amid record high temperatures sweeping France and Western Europe.

People bathe in the Limmat River in Letten, Switzerland on June 18, 2022, during a heat wave.

People bathe in the Limmat River in Letten, Switzerland on June 18, 2022, during a heat wave.

Glynn Halley, a physicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: “ECOSTRESS continues to map the impact of extreme heat in cities around the world, including recent record-breaking heatwaves in both Europe and the US.

“These data can be used to identify hot spots, vulnerable regions, and assess the cooling impact of heat mitigation approaches.”

For several consecutive days in mid-June, temperatures in many European cities exceeded 104 °F (40 °C).

In Tokyo, Japan, air temperatures above 95 °F (35 °C) are recorded for five consecutive days.

This was the worst recorded period of June hot weather since records began in 1875.

In the US, by June 15, nearly a third of the population was on some form of heat advisory.

The world has already warmed by about 1.98°F (1.1°C) since the Industrial Revolution, which will continue to rise unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report states that it is almost certain that since 1950, the intensity and duration of heat waves have increased globally.

Experts agreed that this is the result of human-caused climate change and that the past month is a reminder of what’s to come.

The ECOSTRESS instrument aboard the International Space Station recorded recent extreme ground temperatures in Milan, Paris and Prague on June 18, 2022.

The ECOSTRESS instrument aboard the International Space Station recorded recent extreme ground temperatures in Milan, Paris and Prague on June 18, 2022.

ECOSTRESS is also modeling the data that will be provided during the future Earth Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) mission of the new Copernicus Sentinel satellite.

ECOSTRESS is also modeling the data that will be provided during the future Earth Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) mission of the new Copernicus Sentinel satellite.

ECOSTRESS is also modeling the data that will be provided during the future Earth Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) mission of the new Copernicus Sentinel satellite.

The LSTM will provide systematic measurements of the earth’s surface temperature using a thermal infrared sensor.

This data will help land managers and farmers understand and respond to climate variability, for example through water management and drought forecasting.

Both NASA and ESA are working together to lead the response to climate change through their separate monitoring missions.

Last month, a Framework Agreement was signed between NASA and ESA for a strategic partnership in the field of studying Earth systems.

Benjamin Koetz of ESA said: “The instrument has proven to be extremely valuable in helping us develop and prepare for the European LSTM mission, which will offer ground surface temperature data at a similar resolution, 50m.

“The main goal of the LSTM, which is scheduled to be launched by the end of the decade, is to meet the needs of European farmers to make agricultural production more sustainable as water scarcity increases, thereby helping farmers to get more “yield per drop”.

“However, it is clear that we are all facing stronger heatwaves and the LSTM will also be important in helping authorities address the serious problem of urban heat islands by monitoring the urban microclimate.”

Illustration of a future Earth Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) mission

Illustration of a future Earth Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) mission

Heatwaves are becoming “more intense” and more frequent due to climate change, scientists say.

A new study suggests that climate change is “uniquely” linked to some extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, but its impact on others, such as severe droughts, may be overestimated.

Over the past three months, monsoon rains have caused catastrophic flooding in Bangladesh, and severe heatwaves have scorched parts of South Asia and Europe.

Meanwhile, a prolonged drought has pushed millions of people in East Africa to the brink of starvation.

A review of extreme weather hazards shows that climate change is making heat waves more intense and more likely, and the consequences in terms of lost lives and financial costs are underestimated.

But severe droughts in many parts of the world are not linked to climate change, according to a survey by scientists from Oxford University, Imperial College London and Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

For others, including tropical cyclones, there are differences between regions and the role that climate change plays in each event.

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