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photo-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

In pictures: Moscow to Mecca, global temperatures go hot, hotter, hottest

From Europe to North America, Russia to East Asia, global temperature record streak continues, as climate change makes heatwaves more extreme

Our Web Desk Published 20.06.24, 04:16 PM

One of the most oppressive summers on record has been scorching India this year, with a daily onslaught of record-breaking temperatures and climbing numbers of heat-related ailments and deaths. India is not alone. Temperatures around the world are also soaring. May 2024 was the warmest May on record, and the 12 months ending with March 2024 ranked as the planet's hottest ever recorded 12-month period, as confirmed by EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. 

Here is a quick look at the heights of summer heat across the earth, compiled from agency and newspaper reports. 

North America

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A severe heatwave has engulfed the United States from the Midwest to New England, bringing record-high temperatures and intense humidity. In typically cooler areas like northern Maine, temperatures have soared to unprecedented levels, with Caribou recording a heat index of 103°F (39.4°C). The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories, predicting highs of 100°F (37.7°C) to 105°F (40.5°C) in many areas, particularly affecting the eastern Great Lakes and New England. Climate change has significantly increased the likelihood and intensity of the extreme heatwave currently affecting the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America, according to a flash study by World Weather Attribution. Between June 1 and June 15, more than 1,200 daytime high temperature records were tied or broken in the United States and nearly 1,800 nighttime high temperature records were reached, according to the National Center for Environmental Information. Temperatures soared to 125°F (51.6°C) in the Sonoran Desert, the highest ever recorded in Mexican history, according to Climate Central.

Europe

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Europe is experiencing extreme weather conditions this month, characterised by intense heat waves and significant fluctuations in precipitation. Countries like Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and Italy faced extreme heat, with temperatures reaching up to 10°C above the seasonal average. Temperatures soared to 39°C in Athens, 28°C in Rome, and 34°C in Istanbul in June. The heatwaves have raised concerns about public health and safety, particularly with events like the Paris Olympic Games approaching​​. Spain has been experiencing mixed weather conditions with record rainfall in some areas and extreme heat in others. Northern Europe, including regions in Germany and the UK, saw heavy rainfall and flooding, leading to fatalities and significant economic damage. Central Europe dealt with lower summer rainfall but faced harsher weather extremes, including river floods and fire hazards​​.

Middle East

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The Middle East faces a severe heat crisis, with temperatures surpassing 45°C (113°F) in several areas, exacerbating power shortages during Eid al-Adha and impacting millions. Cities like Baghdad and Riyadh are experiencing highs over 50°C (122°F), stressing power grids and causing widespread outages. In Mecca and Medina, the heat index exceeded 55°C (131°F) during the Hajj pilgrimage, leading to heat-related illnesses and fatalities in the hundreds among pilgrims, prompting emergency measures such as distributing water and setting up cooling stations. Other areas, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, also faced extreme weather conditions, with temperatures consistently exceeding 45°C (113°F). These conditions have prompted governments to enforce stricter regulations on outdoor activities during peak heat hours. 

Russia 

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Even in Russia the conditions are dire, with the sizzling heat breaking numerous temperature records across the country. Moscow faced particularly extreme conditions, recording its hottest June in 142 years with temperatures reaching 36°C, surpassing the previous record of 34.7°C set in 1901. St Petersburg also saw consecutive record-breaking days, with temperatures hitting 30.7°C, slightly higher than the previous record set in 2006. The heat extended to northern regions, with Tyumyati in the Arctic Circle recording 31.1°C, an exceptionally high temperature for that latitude. Siberia, particularly in cities like Yakutsk, saw temperatures climb to record highs of around 38°C (100°F), causing widespread concern over wildfires and air quality. The heatwave also affected the Volga region, where cities such as Kazan and Samara faced temperatures above 37°C (99°F), straining power supplies and water resources. The extreme heat raised concerns about the increasing frequency and intensity of such weather events in Russia, which is heating up 2.5 times faster than the global average, according to the fourth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

East Asia

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In Japan, cities like Kitaakita and Oguni recorded highs of 34.1°C and 33.7°C, respectively, marking some of the hottest days in June. Taiwan also saw its first-ever June temperatures surpassing 40°C, with Taitung County hitting 40.1°C​. South Korea faced extreme heat, with Seoul enduring temperatures above 37°C​. In China, the summer has been particularly severe, with northwest China recording an all-time high of 52°C, leading to infrastructure issues such as melted tar and buckled roads. Major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai experienced consecutive days with temperatures over 40°C, coupled with severe droughts in eastern regions threatening agricultural productivity​.

South Asia

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Alongside India, its neighbours confront a blistering summer this year. Pakistan is facing one of its most serious heat waves, with temperatures soaring above 52°C in the southern province of Sindh. Cities like Karachi and Jacobabad are tackling extreme heat coupled with hundreds of heatstroke cases and significant disruptions in daily life. In Mohenjo Daro, temperatures reached 52.2°C, approaching the country's record high. Bangladesh also endures a searing summer, with temperatures consistently exceeding 40°C countrywide. The capital, Dhaka, has experienced extreme heat, peaks around 42°, forcing schools to close and prompting health advisories from the government. The conditions have led to an increase in heat-related illnesses and strained healthcare resources​. Sri Lanka, too, has not been spared. Colombo and other major cities have seen temperatures rise to around 38°C. The heatwave has also impacted agricultural activities, affecting crop yields and raising concerns about food security​. 

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