France and Spain experienced unusually warm temperatures on Thursday, bringing some bathers out to beaches but also adding to mounting concerns about changing weather patterns in Europe.
On the French Riviera, tourists were sunbathing in bikini, the terraces were full and the seawater was warm enough for swimming.
“At the end of October it cools down normally and by All Saints Day it usually rains, but this year is exceptional,” said Rose-Marie Martini, tanning on the beach in a bathing suit.
She said that at home, the heating was still off, and that the water was still suitable for swimming at 20 to 21 degrees Celsius.
Western Europe’s unusually balmy October follows a summer during which blistering temperatures parched farmlands and rivers and wildfires ran amok.
Successive heatwaves baked Europe and placed renewed focus on human-caused climate change risks to farming, industry and livelihoods.
“2022 is already the hottest year on record,” said weather forecaster Frederic Nathan at Meteo France, adding that while Indian summers were not unusual, in recent years the degree of warming had been reaching unprecedented levels.
“Each year now sees dozens of heat records and virtually no low temperatures, in a typical sign of climate change,” he said.
Spain on Thursday experienced unusually warm weather with some places set to surpass the 30 Celsius (86F) mark, and the national weather agency AEMET predicted that it could be the hottest October since records began.
AEMET said every day of the month, except October 1st, had been warmer than usual at this time of year.
In southern Spain, Moron de la Frontera surpassed 34.5 (94.1) and cities like Cordoba and Seville were set sizzle at over 30C (86 F).
In the traditionally cooler and rainier Basque Country in the north, temperatures also hovered around 30 Celsius, with the coastal city of San Sebastian experiencing heat more fitting of summer.
“We’re grateful for the weather. It’s good for the terraces, we appreciate it,” waiter Carlos Cruz.
Beach resorts across France have extended their season as the unusually hot weather keeps tourists coming.
“This is a summer season that is not ending,” said Rene Colomban, head of the Nice beach operators association.
He said their season was starting earlier and ending later than it did even just a few years ago.
“We remain open as long as the weather allows it.”