What caused Europe`s heatwave?

What caused Europe`s heatwave? the intense heatwave that baked much of Europe for weeks has convinced many people about the changing climate. "We have not seen such an extended period of dry weather and sunny days since 1870,' says Michael Knobelsdorf, a meteorologist at the German Weather Service. "These extremes are happening at short intervals, suggesting climate is unbalanced,' he adds.

The heatwave may have eased up now, but the unbearable temperature claimed at least 20,000 lives, fuelled deadly forest fires and caused a severe drought, the European Commission (ec) issued a little noticed bulletin. It stated that the drought has led to drastic changes in the agricultural output; and the variations perfectly match predictions of the effects of global warming.

The report, by ec's Joint Research Centre, reveals that the prolonged heatwave has caused crop yield to drop across southern Europe. For example, maize and sugar beet yield in Italy has decreased by a quarter, and wheat produce has fallen down by a third in Portugal. However, farmers of northern Europe, which was not affected by the drought, did not face a set-back. For instance, the weather increased sugar beet harvest by a quarter in Ireland, and by five per cent in Denmark and Sweden. The shift in productivity is exactly what was forecast in 2002 by J