The world was engulfed in heat waves and forest fires. In Washington state, for example, it is not only the Covid-19 pandemic that is stopping from resuming access to offices. The heat has already turned the northwestern states into an “oven”, and air conditioners have begun to be bought in northern regions, where summer usually was cool.
Let's figure out which regions are entering a state of emergency due to high temperatures, how the weather leads to human casualties and what is the reason for such an extreme heat.
Temperature records in Ukraine
On the weekend, July 10-11, Ukraine was in a dry and sultry weather. The heat will remain approximately for the whole next week: the maximum temperature, according to the forecast, will rise to +37 degrees. At the same time, rain with thunderstorms is also predicted.
The case is in an anticyclone called Cornelieke, explains the head of the Cherkasy hydrometeorological center Vitaliy Postrigan on Facebook.
"This vast formation blocked the paths of the winds and the western processes, which are associated with Atlantic cyclones, and hence the rains," says the forecaster.
The heat will ease after July 21, when the probability of rain will increase.
In July alone, ten temperature records were broken in four days. And June 24 became the hottest in the capital over the past 100 years.
Abnormal heat +54 and fires
The northwest of the United States is engulfed in heat waves. So, on Saturday, another temperature record was recorded - in the California Death Valley in the Mojave Desert it was +54 degrees Celsius (130 Fahrenheit). On Sunday, asphalt near the Visitor Center warmed up to 178 degrees Fahrenheit (+ 81.1 ° C), ABC reports.
The reservoirs in the lakes have sunk to dangerously low levels. Residents in several states have been asked to save energy and water. The state of California is facing a drought and the governor is asking residents and companies to voluntarily reduce their water use.
Due to the high temperatures, people stay at home and do not go to offices and classes. Ironically, Washington State should have reopened a few days ago after the quarantine, but no one visits crowded places or work because of the weather.
In Seattle, Amazon has allowed members of the public to visit their headquarters as a cooling spot. Improvised cooling centers have opened in Portland as well.
Because of the heat, the west of the United States is fighting wildfires. The area on fire doubles every 24 hours.
In Oregon, forests and the Fremont Winma Wildlife Sanctuary have been engulfed in fires. The fire disrupted the operation of three power lines. Oregon Governor Keith Brown has declared a state of emergency. Residents of hundreds of homes have already been evacuated, and many more have received orders to prepare.
In California, firefighters were struggling to contain the biggest wildfire this year. Some of the water dropped by the plane evaporated before reaching the ground. People were encouraged to save energy to avoid interruptions in their work. More than ten houses were destroyed.
In Arizona, a small plane crashed while surveying a wildfire in rural Mojave County, killing both crew members.
Victims of the weather
The last high-profile case of fatalities occurred in Canada. For example, the heat led to the fact that dozens of people in the Vancouver area in the west of the country died as a result of the heatwave. Police reported 130 sudden deaths due to the heat, most of the victims being elderly.
“I have served in the police for 15 years and have never experienced so many sudden deaths in such a short period of time,” said Police Sergeant Steve Addison.
Canada has broken its temperature record of +49.6 degrees in Lytton, British Columbia. Many homes in British Columbia don't even have air conditioning, and temperatures are colder in summer.
It's not just people who suffer from the heat. Thus, tens of thousands of dead shellfish, mussels, starfish and snails were thrown onto a beach in Vancouver. They died in the record heat. More than a billion marine animals have died on the Canadian coast of the Salish Sea alone.
There are a number of studies linking heat deaths to climate change. The journal Nature published an article on the impact of high temperatures on mortality from any cause in different regions of the world. According to the WHO, from 1998 to 2017, more than 160 thousand people died from the heat in the world.
The worst situation is in regions closer to the equator, tropical and subtropical countries such as Thailand, Brazil and Peru.
What caused the heat
People suffer from high temperature all over the world. Scientists suspect climate change and global warming are to blame. Climatologists have concluded that global warming is responsible for 37% of the total heat death toll.
"The reason for this is fossil fuels (burning oil and gas). If you do not take action now, then everything will only get worse, some parts of the world will become uninhabitable. We need to recognize this situation as an emergency, as it was with Covid-19," said the BBC Greenpeace representative Sarah Hayek.
This is also the opinion of Dr. Claire Goodess, Senior Research Fellow at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East England.
“The data tells us that people are already dying on all continents due to increased heat stress caused by human-induced climate change. This highlights the need for global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is more important than ever that meaningful agreements are reached at the UN Climate Conference, ”says Goodess.
Fossil fuel combustion fell 7% in 2020 due to industry shutdown due to coronavirus. But this was not enough to combat climate change. Thus, the global temperature has increased by 1.2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era (recorded figures from 1850-1900), according to last year's UN report.