Tropical weather has arrived in Czechia – but what’s the climate impact?

Czechia experienced its first bout of tropical weather this past weekend, with temperatures reaching as high as 30 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country. While the warmer weather is welcomed by some, it’s indicative of a larger problem being experienced globally – climate change. Miroslav Havránek, a researcher from the Charles University Environment Centre, told me more.

We had a really warm weekend here in Prague and all over Czechia. Temperatures reached almost 30 degrees in some parts of the country. What are these weather patterns saying about our current climate here?

Miroslav Havránek | Photo: Cenia

“This is something we have been observing for two or three decades now, so it’s surprising by the standards of the month, but scientists and climatologists are not surprised that we are getting new record temperatures. This weekend we actually had the first tropical day of the year, which has never happened before this early in the spring. Every year, we are getting new record temperatures, and this pattern is directly tied to climate change.”

Is this a trend where we suddenly have different seasons appearing sporadically throughout the year? Will seasons begin to amalgamate with one another?

“In short, yes. These mid seasons like spring and autumn will become shorter and shorter. We’ve only had spring for two or three weeks and we’re starting to have early summer. So it’s a pattern that’s going to be observed more often.”

Just this weekend was the Prague half marathon, and many people were treated for heat related illness because of the warm weather. What are the other implications that we will start to see and feel because of rising temperatures?

“Human health impacts – impacts on mortality and morbidity are prime concerns because we care about people. But if we look in other areas – the forestry and agriculture sectors, higher temperatures mean that there will be higher evaporation, meaning the seasons will be much drier. We are expecting a dry, hot summer – which has many implications starting with the increased risk of forest fires, draughts, and lower crop yields. These higher temperatures can also impact transport infrastructure – train rails can rupture. So there are many impacts on different sectors that we are observing.”

Prague is really quite a green city, but there is still a lot of concrete that makes it incredibly warm when the heat comes in.

Illustrative photo: René Volfík,

“Cities are hotspots for high temperatures because of urban heat islands. Concrete and glass create heat islands, so temperatures in the cities are usually a few degrees higher than in the surrounding area. Of course, if it’s 12 or 15 degrees it’s fine, but if it’s 30 or 35 degrees, there is a huge difference and impact on well-being.”

So this season, we should be expecting a hot summer?

“The pattern looks like it. Of course there can be uncertainty in every forecast, but what we can be certain about is this trend increasing. Over the years in the Czech Republic, there has been an increase in average temperature by 0.3 degrees every decade. It’s a trend that has been ongoing since the 1960s, and this will continue. Of course the predictions for the immediate weather are impacted by various factors, so we have to take it with a grain of salt. What we are seeing now is the beginning of a dry summer, because a lot of water that should have been kept in the snow isn't there because we didn’t have much snow this season, so we are experiencing a drier spring.

“Everyone likes it when it’s a bit warmer, but every degree means there is a lot of water missing from our landscapes – from forests and fields. Every degree means millions of litres of water gets evaporated before it’s used by plants. These impacts are not immediately recognizable by the general public, but they will come.”