'The New Normal': Extreme heat imperils millions across Northern Hemisphere

9:10 22.07.2023 •

Photo: News.sky.com

Climate scientists said that last month was the hottest June since scientists began record-keeping in the 1880s.

Millions of people and ecosystems across the Northern Hemisphere continued to suffer amid ongoing heatwaves exacerbated by the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency.

The "intolerable" conditions, some of which are detailed below, have reignited demands for far-reaching climate action.

China has confirmed the northwestern village of Sanbao reached 126°F on Sunday. This marks the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country, with little relief in sight this week. Fears are growing of a potential repeat of last year's historic drought.

The Persian Gulf International Airport in Iran reported a heat index of 152°F on Sunday. This is the brutal result of a 104°F temperature combined with 65% relative humidity and approaches the limits of human survivability.

Japanese officials have reportedly issued heatstroke alerts for tens of millions of people residing in 20 of the country's 47 jurisdictions.

In South Korea, flooding and landslides provoked by monsoon rains killed at least 40 people over the weekend. Storms of this kind are growing in frequency and intensity as the warming atmosphere holds more moisture.

Several European nations continue to roast amid raging wildfires and a suffocating heatwave, already the third this summer. Many long-standing temperature records are expected to fall this week across Southern Europe.

Italian officials issued additional heat warnings as the islands of Sicily and Sardinia brace for temperatures of nearly 120°F in the coming days, possibly the hottest ever recorded in Europe.

Research published last week revealed that last year's historically hot European summer killed more than 61,000 people across the continent.

A second Canadian firefighter died as the country continues to battle hundreds of blazes during its worst-ever wildfire season — one that scientists say is inseparable from escalating heatwaves and droughts that leave behind large amounts of dry kindling.

Large swaths of the United States are also being pummeled by extreme weather, with roughly one-third of the country under heat warnings, wildfires burning, and multiple cities reeling in the aftermath of climate change-intensified floods. Temperatures in Death Valley along the California-Nevada border reached 128°F, close to the area's likely all-time high of 130°F set in August 2020 and July 2021 (weather historians dispute the accuracy of a 134°F reading from 1913).

"In many parts of the world, today is predicted to be the hottest day on record," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted. "The climate crisis is not a warning. It's happening. I urge world leaders to act now."

The Guardian columnist George Monbiot alluded to overlooked new research sounding the alarm about the growing risk of simultaneous crop losses in the world's major growing regions due to climate breakdown.


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