Unprecedented heat records: Europe, US, and China continue to sizzle

Satya Soviet Patnaik shields himself from the sun while waiting in line to take a photo at the historic Welcome to Las Vegas Sign during a heat wave in Las Vegas. AFP/File

Extreme heat is scorching Europe and other parts of the world, causing wildfires and health concerns. 

In Greece and the Canary Islands, firefighters are battling blazes, while Spain has issued heat alerts. Italy’s Sardinia has warned children to avoid sports due to safety reasons. 

The United States is also experiencing a relentless heatwave, with Phoenix breaking a 49-year-old temperature record. From Washington to Beijing, authorities are urging people to stay hydrated and seek shelter from the sun. Southern France has seen local temperature records shattered. 

The World Meteorological Agency (WMO) warns that the trend of heatwaves shows no signs of decreasing. John Nairn, a senior extreme heat advisor at the WMO, stressed the need for the world to prepare for more intense heatwaves. The effects of global warming are evident in the increase in frequency and intensity of these events.

Wildfires continue to ravage areas in Greece, including the forest of Dervenohoria. In the Canary Islands, a fire has forced thousands of residents to evacuate, with poor air quality requiring face masks. Italy and Spain are also grappling with scorching temperatures, prompting red alerts in some regions. Sardinia and Sicily in Italy are at risk of surpassing a continent-wide heat record. In response, restrictions have been put in place, including limiting beach visits and forbidding sports activities.

Climate change is a significant factor contributing to these extreme weather events. Millions of Americans are experiencing dangerous heat levels, with warnings from the National Weather Service to practice heat safety. Phoenix in Arizona broke a record for consecutive days with temperatures of 110F or higher. Robert Vautard, director of France’s climate institute, highlights that the heatwaves across Europe and the world are a result of various factors amplified by climate change.

Record temperatures in parts of Asia have led to torrential rain and evacuations in southern China and Vietnam. The extreme heat coincides with the meeting between US climate envoy John Kerry and Chinese officials in Beijing, where they discuss reducing planet-warming emissions and the need for global leadership on climate issues.

As the world grapples with these unprecedented heatwaves, it becomes increasingly clear that urgent action is required to address climate change and mitigate its impact on our planet and the lives of people worldwide.

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