Around the Globe, Searing Heat With No Sign of Relief
and Power plants are churning across the United States and China, the worlds leading emitters of greenhouse gases, struggling to meet air-conditioning demand. Wildfires are raging in Southern Europe and Canada, with more than a month of peak fire season left. Explosive thunderstorms, torrential monsoons and extreme heat are sowing destruction and threatening lives across three continents. And there is little relief in sight, from the mountains and megacities of Asia to the lakes and rivers of Europe or the plains, forests and suburbs of North America. In the short-term, meteorologists predicted more intense heat and extreme weather over the next month. In the long-term, scientists say, climate change is making heat waves hotter, more frequent and longer; making wildfires bigger and more intense; affecting air quality, rainfall, and droughts reaching every corner of Earth, driven by the burning of fossil fuels by humans. The hard part isnt over, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece said on Thursday. In his country, wildfires have burned scores of homes and thousands of acres of forestland over the last week, and temperatures are to reach 113 degrees Fahrenheit, or 45 Celsius, on Sunday in the central region of Thessaly. A fire service spokesman, Ioannis Artopios, said that the intensely dry heat was creating even more difficult conditions for Greek firefighters. Similarly parched conditions have fueled in Canada, where more than 25 million acres have burned so far this year. Given the expectation that the heat will persist, parts of Southern Europe are bracing for the next wave even as the temperatures have ebbed albeit just slightly over the past couple of days. Italian hospitals have a rise in heat-related emergencies as temperatures crept toward 100 Fahrenheit, or 38 Celsius. Unions, government officials and businesspeople met to discuss how to , which is creating dangerous conditions on construction sites, tarmacs, and city streets. One business leader compared the heats impact on workers to the Covid-19 pandemic and called for extraordinary measures in response. In Spain, the authorities officially declared an end to the heat emergency on Thursday. But the nations weather monitor warned people not to lower our guard, given that the risk of wildfires in the hot, dry conditions remains high in much of the country. Across Europe, the searing temperatures , with southern European nations being joined by others as far north as Belgium in putting heat-relief plans in place, many aimed at safeguarding older populations. for anyone, but older people and outdoor workers are at particular risk. Summer heat waves in Europe last year may have , according to a recent study. Some health officials around the world have started to link deaths to extreme heat this year. Heat and humidity have been particularly , where more than 100 people died of heat-related causes this yearthe region, according to reports from the federal health ministry. Daily global surface air temperatures for every year since 1979 64 July 17, 2023 62 2022 60 1979-2021 58 56 54 52 50 Jan. 1 Mar. 1 May 1 July 1 Sep. 1 Nov. 1 Dec. 31 64 July 17, 2023 62 2022 60 1979-2021 58 56 54 52 50 May 1 Jan. 1 Sep. 1 Dec. 31 Source: Climate Reanalyzer, Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, based on data from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Climate Forecast System In Asia, the extremely high temperatures have been compounded by an intense monsoon season that has already taken more than 100 lives in and , with the full death toll likely to be considerably higher. Severe rainfall has replaced the intense heat in India in recent weeks, particularly in the Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The intense downpours have caused massive landslides and flash floods, killing . An April report by Indias government foreshadowed such an outcome, warning that with unchecked global warming, the probability of compound extremes such as the simultaneous occurrence of droughts and heat waves is also likely to increase. Droughts can make flash floods more likely because soil becomes less absorbent. Heat waves in India normally occur before the monsoon season, from March to June. But this year, temperatures have remained extremely high for far longer, reflecting a steady warming trend in recent years. While a temperature of 91 degrees or more was recorded, on average, 70 days a year between 1961 and 1990, between 1991 to 2022 there were an average of 89 days hitting that mark. Another heat wave continued to bake much of China on Friday, shattering records across the country. The far western region of Xinjiang has been particularly hard hit. Temperatures on Sunday at a remote desert township hit 126 degrees (52 Celsius), reportedly breaking the record for the highest temperature in China. Parts of Xinjiang were expected to keep seeing three-digit temperatures, according to , and the authorities said they were for potential wildfires. Late July is historically the hottest time of year in southern China, and officials there that high humidity would make temperatures feel almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the actual measurements. Chinas largest freshwater lake, Poyang Lake, started its dry season on Thursday, the earliest since record-keeping began in the 1950s, in Jiangxi Province. And in northern China, several cities, including Beijing, have broken records for the most days in a year above 95 degrees, although rainstorms that began Thursday night were expected to finally bring some relief. But the storms brought their own concerns, as officials warned of potential flash floods around the capital. Two years ago, the city of Zhengzhou, in central China, recorded what state media said was the most rainfall on record ever to fall in a single hour in the country. The downpours . Chinese power stations have recently their own broken records for generating electricity and Chinese leaders this week to commit to tougher climate action. There was similar demand for electricity in the United States, where more than a quarter of the population , according to a New York Times analysis of daily weather and population data. Late Thursday, the operator of Californias power grid issued an urging people to conserve electricity as high temperatures strained the system. In Phoenix, the temperature hit 116 degrees on Thursday, extending to 21 straight days with temperatures of 110 degrees or higher. Severe storms, particularly in the southeastern United States, have further battered the energy grid. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power as strong thunderstorms knocked out power lines on Thursday, leaving 150,000 homes without electricity in Georgia, and in western Tennessee, and causing blackouts in 52,000 homes and businesses. Forecasters said the current heat wave was expected to last through the weekend in the Deep South and Southeast and into next week for the Southwest. Nearly 80 million Americans are expected to face temperatures above 105 in the next few days, the National Weather Service said. Another U.S. agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, predicted unusually high temperatures in most of the country next month, almost everywhere except the northern Great Plains. On Thursday, NOAA reported that last month was the planets warmest June since global temperature record-keeping began in 1850. Reporting was contributed by Niki Kitsantonis from Athens, Constant Meheut from Paris, Gaia Pianigiani from Rome, Suhasini Raj from New Delhi and Vivian Wang from Beijing. Li You contributed research from Shanghai. is an international news editor in New York. He previously held that role in Hong Kong, where he was responsible for coverage of breaking news in Asia and Australia. He served as deputy politics editor for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 U.S. presidential races.