Extreme heat has already killed hundreds of people across Spain and Portugal with temperatures expected to remain high and even rise across Europe today. The heatwave is just one of three baking various regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Temperatures could reach 113°F in Texas and Oklahoma today and another heatwave is growing in central Asia. Extreme heat and heatwaves — like those pushing temperatures to 36°F above normal in the UK — are made worse and more frequent by climate change, mainly caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.
“It’s hitting us full in the face.”
Vignettes of the extreme heat are brutal and numerous: the heat is altering cows’ hormonal balance, lowering milk supplies and likely hampering fertility; English farmers are essentially giving their chickens Gatorade to help replenish electrolytes; flights were halted in the UK after runways melted in multiple locations; more than 30,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as wildfires rage across the continent (see Guardian map); temperatures in the London Underground were hotter than what is deemed safe for the transportation of cattle; Spaniands panicked as their train stopped on the tracks and wildfires encroached on both sides; and hospitals in the U.S. are being stretched to the breaking point.
The heat — a vision of what was the future and is now the present — is not isolated temporally or geographically — so far this year 188 all-time heat records have been broken worldwide compared to just 18 low-temperature records. “We’re not reaching out and touching global heating,” Jean-Luc Gleyze, head of the local fire service in La Teste-de-Buch, told The Guardian. “It’s hitting us full in the face.” (Washington Post $, USA Today, Reuters, The Hill, CNN, AP, Axios, Washington Post $, FT $; US: NBC, Bloomberg $, ABC; Asia: Reuters; European Wildfires: The Guardian, CBS, Washington Post $; Cows and chickens: Bloomberg $; Runways: The Guardian, Gizmodo; London Underground: Bloomberg $; Spanish train: AP; Hospitals: Washington Post $; Temperature records: CNN; Vision of the future: E&E News; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves; Wildfires)