Summer heat: the persistent heat wave breaks records, the spirits

From the normally cold Russian Arctic to the traditionally sweltering American South, large swaths of the Northern Hemisphere continued to sizzle with extreme heat as the start of summer looked more like the scorching days of August.

In the United States, a heat dome of triple-digit temperatures in many places combined with high humidity oscillated from west to east. At least eight states reached 100 degrees (37.8 degrees Celsius) on Thursday and at least nine high temperature marks were set or broken, according to the National Weather Service, which has held 30 million Americans under some kind of heat advisory.

Thursday’s extreme discomfort came after 12 states broke the 100 degree mark on Wednesday and 21 records were tied or broken. Since June 15, at least 113 automated weather stations have equaled or broken hot temperature records. Scientists say this early cooking has all the hallmarks of climate change.

“It’s easy to look at these numbers and forget the immense misery they represent. People who can’t afford air conditioning and people who work outdoors have only one option, to suffer,” said Texas A&M climatologist Andrew Dessler, who was at College Station, where the temperature tied a record at 102 degrees (38.9 degrees Celsius). Thursday. “Those of us with air conditioning may not suffer physically, but we are prisoners inside.”

After three deaths, Chicago changed its chilling rules.

Macon, Georgia, the temperature rose from 64 degrees (17.8 degrees Celsius) to 105 (40.6 degrees Celsius) in just nine hours on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, the temperature peaked at 104 (40 degrees Celsius), a record for the day. Even Minneapolis hit 100 on Monday.

Likely only the Pacific Northwest and Northeast were spared the heat wave, National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Chenard told the Weather Prediction Center. On Thursday, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Arizona and California all reached at least 100. The same states hit 100 on Wednesday, joined by North Carolina and South, Kentucky and Tennessee.

“It’s persistent,” Chenard said. “It’s been over a week and it’s going to continue in some ways.”

It’s not just the United States

The Russian city of Norilsk, above the Arctic Circle, hit 89.6 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) on Thursday for its hottest June day on record and tied for its hottest day of any month on record , according to Maximiliano Herrera, who tracks world temperature records. Several Japanese cities hit their hottest temperatures in June, including 97 (36.1 degrees Celsius) in Nobeoka City, while Turpan, China hit 114 degrees (46.5 degrees Celsius). Herrera said it was so crazy he had no time to eat or sleep, just to keep up with the broken records and the extreme heat.

A European heat wave also caused fire problems in Germany and Spain.

Victor Gensini, professor of meteorology at Northern Illinois University, said what’s happening with this early heat wave is “very consistent with what we expect in a continuously warming world.”

“These temperatures are occurring with only 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) of global warming and we are on track for 4 degrees Fahrenheit (2.2 degrees Celsius) more warming this century,” Dessler said. “I literally can’t imagine how bad it will be.”

In Raleigh, North Carolina, it reached 100 degrees on Wednesday and the city usually only gets one 100 degree day a year, but it comes much later than that, said state climatologist Kathie Dello. .

“In the Southeastern United States, many do not have access to sufficient or stable cooling or cannot afford to use their home cooling systems. Heat-related morbidity and mortality are among our greatest public health risks in a changing climate. »

There could be some cooling by the weekend or Monday in some places, including the north-central part of the country, Chenard said. But above normal temperatures are forecast “at least in the first part of July” and he added that it is likely the whole summer will be warmer than normal.


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