As a heat wave rolls over Europe, bringing temperatures as high as 33 Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) in Prague on Tuesday, the ICE PUB in downtown Prague offers a brief escape to Arctic conditions.
The bar, just a minute’s walk from the capital’s renowned Charles Bridge, serves vodka-based cocktails in cups made of ice; the furnishings and decorations are also made from ice.
The temperature inside, around -7 Celsius (45 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, is so cold that visitors are handed fleece coats and mittens, and visits are limited to under half an hour.
“The question that everybody is asking looking ahead is – when is this going to end?,” said Robert Stefanski, chief of Applied Climate Services at the WMO. “Unfortunately, looking at all the models from all our partners at a national and regional level, possibly not until the middle of next week.”
Britain recorded its highest-ever temperature of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), while firefighters in southwestern France battled to contain huge forest wildfires as a heatwave rising from the south settled over western Europe.
Stefanski said he expected temperatures to peak on Tuesday but to stay above average.
At the same briefing, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas warned that he expected to see a “much higher” number of heat waves in future due to climate change.
“The direction is clear and in the future, these kinds of heat waves are going to be normal and we will see even stronger extremes,” said Taalas, wearing short sleeves and a red and blue tie which he said he chose to illustrate the warming trend.
Officials at the same press briefing said they expected more deaths among the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions due to the ongoing heat wave as well as challenges for health systems due to increased demand.