On July and August, heat waves affected Italy and many other European countries, including Southern England, with heavy storms and temperatures reaching 40 degrees in major cities. This phenomenon is linked to the rising of the African Anticyclone that was pushed up by the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).
This atmospheric zone is located close to the Equator, where Trade winds converge and cause the usual tropical thunderstorms. It is possible to identify it in satellite images as a cloudy band around the Equator.
Its position is not fixed: it fluctuates seasonally around the Equator, towards North during summer, as we can see in the chart (the black line is the climatological trend), towards South in winter.
This year the ITCZ experienced a fluctuation towards North (red line) of one degree more than the climatological trend.
This is the reason for the stabilization of the African Anticyclone on the Mediterranean Sea and Europe.