French TV predicted hot weather for 2050…but we’re almost there now

A forecaster has said it is ‘frightening’ that the 2050 predictions made eight years ago are coming true now, almost three decades earlier – as the mercury tips 40C

A thermometre showing 40C
Temperatures predicted for 2050 are coming true now, almost thirty years too soon
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Eight years ago, a TV weather forecaster presented a prediction of temperatures that could affect France in 2050, to warn against global warming – and they were strikingly similar to those seen now.

Presenter Évelyne Dhéliat showed the ‘fake’ forecast on TF1 in 2014, as part of a report on the dangers of global warming.

She said: “There is still strong heat today, August 17, 2050, with sun blazing down.” A hypothetical map of France showed temperatures of up to 43C, with 34-30C across much of the country.

The predictions in 2014 had been “formulated very seriously by Météo France”, she said at the time, and this is “not fiction for 2050”. Similar predictions had been made for other European countries.

But now, eight years later, Ms Dhéliat has pointed out the striking similarities between her forecast then, and the actual forecast in France now, calling it “frightening”.

She said: “A frightening forecast from Météo France for Monday! Between 40 and 42C or even more, in the western regions. With an onshore wind forecast on some of these regions, [we recommend] great caution, the risk of fires remains and will remain very high. Thoughts and respect to our firefighters.”

Many southern departments in France are currently on orange alert for a heatwave from Sunday to Tuesday, with a peak expected on Monday (July 18). “Extreme temperatures” are expected on the “Atlantic arch” with highs of 40-42% on the western coast, said Météo France.

Read more: French heatwave: what temperatures are expected this weekend?

The same similarities have been noted in the UK, with predictions for 2050 appearing incredibly close to those being forecast in the next few days. The UK Met Office has issued it first ever ‘red alert for extreme heat’ in England for Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19.

In France, several weather journalists have said they are changing the way they talk about heatwaves.

In mid-June, when temperatures were already above the seasonal average, Marc Hay of BFMTV said: “The projections we were showing for 2050 have already happened. In 2019, it was an alarm signal, and we said it would happen in 15 or 20 years, and in fact, it's happening three years later.”

Scientists have noted an increase in heat waves in recent years. Météo France figures show that in France, 23 heatwaves have been recorded over the last 21 years (between 2000 and 2021), compared with only 17 in the previous 53 years (over the period 1947-1999).

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