A historic heat wave is sweeping across the two continents, threatening vulnerable populations and triggering severe thunderstorms and flooding. Temps hit over 111 degrees Fahrenheit this past weekend in Vietnam, where the previous heat record was (just) 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Similar records were broken in Thailand, Cambodia, and Spain, which recorded the hottest and driest April since record-keeping began in 1961.
A heatwave of this magnitude should only have about a 1-in-400 chance of occurring each year, according to World Weather Attribution. Climate change continues to drive extreme heat and its impacts, which are likely to continue as Pacific Ocean conditions begin to shift from three years of a worldwide La Niña to a more warming El Niño pattern. Maximiliano Herrera, a climate historian who tracks temperature records, tweeted that the episode is “one of the most brutal heat event[s] the world has ever witnessed,” adding that “records are being pulverized.” (Gizmodo, Scientific American, AP, Axios, Washington Post $, Bloomberg $; Climate Signals: Heat)