Too hot to handle

Europe heat wave: 7 maps show the crisis from space

Most of the Northern Hemisphere is sizzling right now.

Copernicus Sentinel 3/ESA

NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

‘Tis the season for horrendous heat waves and wildfires.

Summers are getting more brutal thanks to the climate crisis.

Large sections of Europe, Asia, and Africa are experiencing scorching temperatures in July.

High heat for an extended period of time can be deadly. In Portugal alone, at least 1,000 deaths have been linked to the heat this past week.


This map shows the air temperatures across the northern hemisphere on July 13, when many regions experienced temperatures well over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens

Kristian Buus/In Pictures/Getty Images

On July 18, Wales recorded its hottest temperature ever at 98.78 degrees Fahrenheit.

And Britain saw a max temperature of 104.5 degrees F the following day. If confirmed, it would be their hottest on record as well.

picture alliance/picture alliance/Getty Images

The weather in Europe currently is also quite humid, which makes the high temperatures even tougher to tolerate.


And since such sweltering temperatures aren’t the norm, the infrastructure in many countries isn’t equipped to handle the heat.

Hence why railways in London have caught fire and a runway at Luton airport warped on July 18.

To understand the sheer scale of how hot the Northern Hemisphere is this month, it can help to see things from space.


Satellites like the ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-3 and NOAA’s Suomi-NPP captured the brutal temperatures and proliferating wildfires from high above the Earth this month.

Here are 7 maps that capture the heat waves and fires from space:

7. Surface temperatures reached up to 55 degrees Celsius (131 Fahrenheit) on the morning of July 17 in this snapshot of France, Spain, Algeria, and Morocco.

Copernicus Sentinel 3/ESA

Copernicus Sentinel/ESA

6. As temperatures climbed, the land became a tinderbox. Fires raged in western Spain on July 13 — these images show the land on the same day in 2021 vs 2022.

5. This snapshot shows the locations of fires (in red) raging through Spain and Portugal on July 12.

NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens

Copernicus Sentinel 3/ESA

4. Fires roared in southwest France on July 17. This GIF shows the land on July 12 and five days later.

3. And here’s another view of the wildfires in France, with the Bay of Biscay to the left.

Copernicus Sentinel/ESA

2. London saw several fires crop up this week during the heat wave. Here’s a snapshot from July 21.

1. Here’s an overview of fires detected in Europe on July 21. A full, interactive map can be viewed here.

NASA Fire Information for Resource Management System

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!