The past week has witnessed a series of fires, dire health warnings, and record-breaking temperatures that have affected the world.
Here is a comprehensive summary of the prolonged and extreme heatwave affecting millions worldwide.
Wildfires and Closures in Greece
In response to a new heatwave, Greece has announced that archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, will be closed during the hottest hours of the day.
The country is bracing for further high temperatures until Sunday, with the central region expected to peak at 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday.
Despite the restrictions, firefighters are still engaged in battling wildfires in the western part of Athens, which have already consumed thousands of hectares.
Spain’s Heatwave Eases
Although the heat peak in Spain has passed, temperatures remain high, with readings above 25C recorded at 120 out of the 900 official meteorological stations on Thursday.
In the southern city of Malaga, the temperature did not drop below 30C during a night described by meteorological services as “hellish”—by Thursday morning, it had already exceeded 39.5C.
Various parts of the southern half of the country are forecasted to experience temperatures exceeding 35C, leading authorities to issue warnings of “very high to extreme” fire risk.
In an effort to conserve the scarce water supplies, the popular tourist resort Lloret de Mar in Spain is switching off beachfront showers.
“It’s a shame because it was nice to shower off,” said Jonas Johanson, a 28-year-old tourist from Denmark.
Hot Nights and Fire Risks in France
The heatwave has increased the risk of wildfires in southeastern France, although the situation is expected to improve somewhat on Friday.
During the day, temperatures in southern France often exceed 35C, and some regions have even reached 40C.
Authorities have raised the fire alert for Thursday and Friday in several parts of the southern coast due to the persistence of heat even after sundown, which further increases the health risk.
High Risk for Homeless in the US
Phoenix, like many parts of the US southwest, experiences harsh summer temperatures due to its desert surroundings. Its 1.6 million residents are accustomed to this extreme heat.
However, this year’s heatwave is unprecedented in its duration, with Phoenix already surpassing its previous record of 18 consecutive days at or above 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). Similar high temperatures are expected to persist into next week.
Due to population growth and a lack of affordable housing, the number of homeless people in Arizona has increased by 23% in recent years.
The World Health Organization has warned that the extreme heat in the northern hemisphere is straining healthcare systems and disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations such as the homeless.
Blazes in North Africa
Firefighters in Tunisia are currently battling a major forest fire that has been raging for two days near the border with Algeria.
As a result, a border crossing with Algeria had to be temporarily closed. Tunisian officials have reported that 470 hectares (1,100 acres) of forest have been burned, and firefighters, along with an army helicopter, are working to extinguish the flames.
Scientists have identified the Mediterranean region as a climate change “hot spot,” and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned of more heatwaves, crop failures, droughts, rising sea levels, and the introduction of invasive species.
© 2023 AFP
“A roundup of the extreme heat hitting the globe” (2023, July 20)
Retrieved on July 20, 2023
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Shambhu Kumar is a science communicator, making complex scientific topics accessible to all. His articles explore breakthroughs in various scientific disciplines, from space exploration to cutting-edge research.