The aims of the study were to assess the severity of temperature conditions in Europe, in June 2019, using a newly developed extremes index, as well as to evaluate circulation conditions that favored the occurrence of extremely hot days in June 2019, as seen over the long term. The main focus of this work was on two European regions particularly affected by high temperatures in June 2019, namely Central Europe and Iberia. To comprehensively characterize heat events in terms of their spatial extent and intensity, we proposed the extremity index (EI) and used it to compare hot days occurring in areas of different sizes and with different climatic conditions. The role of atmospheric circulation in the occurrence of hot days was evaluated using the Grosswetterlagen (GWL) circulation types catalog, as well as composite maps created with the bootstrap resampling technique. Our results reveal that June 2019 was unusually hot, and in terms of the magnitude of the anomaly, it has no analogue in the 70-year-long temperature record for Europe. However, the properties of heat events in the two considered regions were substantially different. The occurrence of hot days in June 2019, in Europe, was mainly associated with the GWL types forcing advection from the southern sector and co-occurrence of high-pressure systems which was significantly proven by the results of bootstrap resampling. In terms of the applicability of the new approach, the EI proved to be a useful tool for the analysis and evaluation of the severity of hot days based on their intensity and spatial range.
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