It's safe to say the sweltering heat wave that struck western Russia last summer brought the hottest temperatures anyone from the region could remember. After all, the daytime temperatures in Moscow surged past 100°F, and prior to last summer, the city's all-time high temperature had never reached the century mark (with records going back as far as 1879).
The Russian heatwave was a record-breaking event by nearly any description. Now, months later, there is a new perspective on just how rare the summer of 2010 was across Europe.
Prior to 2010, the most severe heat wave on record for the continent was in 2003, when two stretches of exceptionally hot weather blanketed western European countries like France, Spain, and Germany. According to a new study that compares both the severity and areal extent of these two so-called "mega-heatwaves,' last summer's event was more extreme than the one seven years earlier. Though not as high as those seen in 2003 (when ...