Climate: Europe, Asia, America… Heat waves hit the northern hemisphere of the globe

Summer has only started three weeks ago in the northern hemisphere, but intense heat waves are already hitting many parts of the world on Saturday July 15. After a record-breaking month of June, the first full week of July was the hottest on record, according to preliminary data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

>> Compare today’s weather to the temperature history of the last decades

This extreme weather, which occurs more frequently due to global warming, “unfortunately becomes the new norm”, WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas said on Thursday. The cyclical weather phenomenon El Niño, which usually leads to a rise in global temperatures, contributes to worsening the situation. Franceinfo is touring the regions of the globe hit by this heat wave.

Restrictions in the United States, which are suffocating

More than 110 million Americans are under heat alerts, according to the government temperature website, heat.gov. Texas, Arizona, Nevada and California are expecting potentially dangerous conditions in the coming days with possible all-time temperature records, US weather services have warned. “The heat will be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly due to its intensity, longevity and a relatively cool start to summer”warned on July 10 the country’s forecast center (NWS) on Twitter.

Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, already recorded its 15th day in a row on Friday July 14 above 43°C, according to the NWS. The heat caused the cancellation of a series of concerts, supposed to take place in the evening each weekend of the summer in the city.

US authorities have been sounding the alarm continuously for several days. They recommend avoiding daytime outdoor activities and watching for signs of dehydration, which can quickly become fatal in such temperatures. In the Californian desert of Death Valley, American firefighters were fighting very violent fires on Friday.

A fire in the Moreno Valley, California (United States), July 14, 2023. (DAVID SWANSON / AFP)

For climatologist Daniel Swain of the University of California, Los Angeles, mercury in Death Valley could equal or even exceed the highest air temperature ever reliably measured on Earth. tell yourself that “it’s the desert, of course it’s hot” East “a DANGEROUS state of mind!”the Las Vegas NWS insisted on Tuesday.

Record temperatures expected in southern Europe

The heat wave that is hitting the Mediterranean rim is expected to last at least two weeks, the WMO warned on Twitter, THURSDAY. Maximum temperatures exceeding 35-40°C are expected.

In Italy, the Ministry of Health has issued a red alert notice, valid all weekend, for several central cities. In Rome, temperatures could rise to 42 or 43°C on Tuesday, shattering the previous record of 40.5°C recorded in the capital in August 2007. The record of 48.8°C could also be beaten in Sardinia. dated August 11, 2021, the highest temperature ever measured in Europe.

In Greece, the heat wave forced the authorities on Friday to close the Acropolis of Athens, the most visited ancient site in the country, during the hottest hours. This closure must be renewed on Saturday “for the protection of workers” And “visitors”, explained the Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni. If temperatures of 40°C to 41°C are expected in Athens, “the true temperature felt (…) by the body is considerably higher” at the top of the Acropolis, according to the minister.

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The Acropolis of Athens (Greece) closed on July 14, 2023, due to high temperatures.  (DIMITRIS LAMPROPOULOS / ANADOLU AGENCY / AFP)

Spain has been suffocating in the heat for several days already. On Monday July 10, the thermometer had reached 46°C in Madrid and 47°C in Seville respectively, according to the European Space Agency (ESA)THURSDAY. The Spanish Meteorological Service warned about the risk of fire “very high or extreme this Saturday in much of Spain”. The Spanish Red Cross has published recommendations on Twitter for people who would end up near forest fires.

Scorching temperatures in Northern Europe

Eastern France, Germany and Poland record very high temperatures. In France, the Alpes-Maritimes department returned to heat wave orange vigilance overnight from Friday to Saturday. The heat will remain on the eastern flank of the country, from 28 to 33°C, and a peak will appear in Roussillon with 38°C.

In Germany, temperatures could rise to 37°C in Berlin and Brandenburg, reports the German daily The Tagesspiegel.

Alert in North Africa

North Africa is also affected by a heat wave, as the German Meteorological Service points out. In Morocco, which has been experiencing a series of heat waves since the start of summer, an orange heat alert has been issued for several provinces, where the mercury could reach 45°C. In Tunisia, according to forecasts from the National Institute of Meteorology (INM) published on Thursday, maximum temperatures could locally reach 46°C on Saturday and Sunday. The same temperature is expected in Algeria in the Tindouf region (west of the country) on Saturday.

East Asia hit by heat wave

Some regions of China, including the capital Beijing, are also suffering from a strong heat wave. One of the country’s main electricity companies said it had recorded a record daily electricity generation on Monday, due to increased demand linked to high temperatures.

Air conditioners installed in apartments in Shanghai, China, on July 13, 2023. (YING TANG / NURPHOTO / AFP)

In Japan, some areas in the east of the country are expected to reach 38 to 39°C on Sunday and Monday, according to the Japanese forecasterwhich placed some regions on peak heat alert on Saturday.

The seas and oceans also affected by the heat wave

The oceans are not spared from the heat either. In southern Florida (United States), the temperature of the water near the coast exceeds 32°C, according to the American Agency for Oceanic and Atmospheric Observation (NOAA).

Surface temperatures in the Mediterranean will be “extremely high in the coming days and weeks”sometimes over 30°C, with values ​​over 4°C above average in large areas of the western sea, according to the WMO. At the other end of the globe, the Antarctic sea ice has reached its lowest extent for the month of June.

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