Records were broken, people were staying inside and shops were doing brisk sales of fans. Temperatures in the UK hit 40 degrees Celsius for the first time in recorded history yesterday, making it the country’s hottest day ever. With UK houses better designed to keep the cold out and the heat in, the unseasonal heat was challenging people across the country, and beyond.
Notably, record highs are outpacing record cold days around the world by more than 10-to-1 this year. Scientists have been quick to respond saying these breaking records are signs of the climate crisis’ impact on day-to-day weather that is now affecting us all.
In the US, over 100 million people, a third of the population, were issued heat-related weather warnings for both Tuesday and Wednesday. Temperatures are set to hit 43 degrees Celsius in the Great Plains states over the next few days.
(The Great Plains contain parts of 10 states: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.)
In Europe, a strong ridge of high pressure is pushing temperatures up across the continent for the past few days. In southern Europe, at least 1,100 people have died during a heat wave. French firefighters are being overwhelmed with bushfires tearing through forests. 21 European nations are now under heat-related warnings.
There were also deadly wildfires in Portugal, Spain, and Greece forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes.
Yesterday, an area of low pressure was moving into the European continent and acting to funnel the extreme heat northward towards the UK.
And it did.
The UK hit its highest ever temperature of 40.3 Celsius, according to the government’s “Met Office” figures. Forecasters are warning that temperatures were still climbing and that more records could tumble in the next few weeks.
The Office’s chief scientist, Stephen Belcher, was in a state of disbelief saying that climate change “was here”.
“….driven by greenhouse gases have made these temperatures possible, and we’re seeing that possibility now.”
Brits, unaccustomed to extreme heat, are now being faced with trying to cope with temperatures they are ill-prepared to live with.
The heat forced people to work from home and students were forced to study remotely. Authorities warned people not to take trains which were potentially dangerous because the heat was expanding tracks more than they had been designed for.
At least two runways had to be closed due to problems with the heat in the UK. At Luton Airport hundreds of flights were cancelled and one Air Force runway was closed because the runway was “melting.”.
In China, the annual heatwave, which usually appears in three groups of ten days during July and August, when temperatures peak, is now being forecast to run in groups of 40 days instead… that from the state weather forecaster and reported in Reuters.
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