PHOENIX — Asia, Europe and the United States heated up in extreme heat on Monday, July 17, as global temperatures soared to alarming levels and US leaders sought to reignite climate diplomacy with China.
The United States was scorched by record heat in the West and South, battered by flooding rains in the Northeast and choked with smoke from wildfires in the Midwest.
A heat dome parked over the western United States raised temperatures in California’s Death Valley desert to 128 Fahrenheit (53 Celsius) on Sunday, among the hottest temperatures recorded on Earth in 90 years.
Phoenix hit 114F (45.5°C) on Monday, tying an all-time record for 18 straight days above 110F and the forecast shows the record is likely to be extended for at least another week.
The US heat wave coincided with extreme temperatures in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
A remote town in China’s arid northwest, Sanbao, registered a national record high of 52.2°C (126°F). The wildfires in Europe broke out ahead of a second heat wave in two weeks that would send temperatures as high as 48°C (118°F), while authorities in Italy and France issued heat-related health warnings.
READ: China records 52.2 degrees Celsius as extreme weather rewrites records
Even in Phoenix, accustomed to hot weather, the prolonged extreme heat is testing people and worrying officials. The international charity Salvation Army has opened 11 cooling centers and sent a mobile unit to provide help to homeless people who have difficulty reaching the sites.
“Extreme heat is Arizona’s natural disaster. So for The Salvation Army, this is a disaster response,” said Scott Johnson, a spokesman for the organization in the southwestern US.
Heat killed 425 people in Phoenix-area Maricopa County last year, so the Salvation Army mobile unit distributes cold water, hats, sunscreen and urgently needed hygiene kits to those in need.
“It feels like you’re in a dryer, the dryer in the laundry room. And it’s sweltering,” said Cristina Hill, a homeless woman who benefited from the outreach Monday who said she suffered from heat stroke last year. “I cry all the time. I yell at the heat.
READ: Summer-tested Phoenix braves unrelenting wave of extreme heat
Another homeless woman, Maritza Villegas, said she has become shaky and nervous from the heat, causing dry heaves.
“This means a lot, the world, because without water I would be in the hospital right now,” Villegas said of the attendance.
Scientists have long warned that climate change, caused by CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels, will make heat waves more frequent, severe and deadly. They say that governments must take drastic measures to reduce omissions and avoid a climate catastrophe.
The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service says that 2022 and 2021 were the hottest summers on record for the continent.
United States and China in climate negotiations
The extreme global temperatures underscored the urgency of the resumed China-US talks on climate change, especially as scientists say the goal of keeping global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels is beyond. out of our reach.
READ: Cities have long planned for extreme heat. Are they enough in a world that is heating up?
US climate envoy John Kerry met with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua in Beijing, urging joint action to reduce methane emissions and coal-fired power.
“In the next three days, we look forward to beginning big steps that send a signal to the world that China and the United States are serious about addressing a common human-made risk, threat, and challenge to all of humanity. themselves,” Kerry said.
“It’s toxic to both the Chinese and the Americans and people in every country on the planet.”
READ: A heat wave called Cerberus has southern Europe in its jaws, and it’s only going to get worse
Prolonged high temperatures in China threaten power grids and crops and raise concerns about a repeat of last year’s drought, the most severe in 60 years.
Typhoon Talim was gaining strength and was due to make landfall overnight on China’s southern coast, forcing the cancellation of flights and trains in the Guangdong and Hainan regions.
In South Korea, torrential rains killed 40 people when river levees collapsed, triggering flash floods. They followed the heaviest rain on record in the capital Seoul last year.
Unrelenting European heat wave
An unrelenting heat wave also continued in Europe.
READ: The ‘heat storm’ extends to southern Europe, health alerts are issued
Italy’s Ministry of Health issued red weather alerts on Monday July 17, indicating a potential threat to the health of anyone exposed to heat, for 20 of the country’s 27 major cities on Tuesday, with the number expected to increase to 23 on Wednesday, July 19. .
France’s public health agency said the current spell of heat would likely hospitalize or kill “many” people, as heat waves have done nearly every summer since 2015. The World Meteorological Organization said the heat was expected to extreme and the rains extended until August.
“In many parts of the world, today is forecast to be the hottest day on record,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, tweeted.
“The #ClimateCrisis is not a warning. It’s happening. I urge world leaders to ACT now.”
READ: Record heat waves sweep the world, from the US to Japan to Europe
As many as 61,000 people may have died in Europe during last summer’s heat waves, and it is feared a repeat this season.
“My concern is really the health, the health of the vulnerable people who live just below the roofs of houses that are not prepared for such high temperatures,” said Robert Vautard, a climate scientist and director of France’s Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute. . “That could create a lot of deaths.”
READ: Las Vegas may break heat record as millions in the US endure scorching heat
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