More than 30 die in Quebec as global temperatures soar

Arizona, Cyprus and Siberia all experiencing the effects of the exceptional heatwave

 Children play in the water fountains at the Place des Arts in Montreal, Canada. Photograph: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty

Children play in the water fountains at the Place des Arts in Montreal, Canada. Photograph: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty

 

Ireland is not the only country experiencing abnormally hot weather. Canada, a country more often associated with cold snaps and snow, is at the end of a heatwave that has so far claimed 34 lives in Southern Quebec.

In the US, Tucson International Airport in Arizona matched the highest temperature ever recorded there, at 44 degrees Celsius on Friday – the hottest temperature recorded in the state so far this summer.

The US National Weather Service warned: “A dangerous heat wave is expected across the Southwest into Southern California through Saturday, including the Los Angeles and San Diego metro areas”.

Los Angeles was expected to hit 39 degrees later on Friday, the sixth hottest July day in the city in recorded history.T he California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection issued its strongest warning yet about wildfires.

In Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology did the same, warning that “hot, dry, fresh and gusty southeast winds” threaten disaster if fire gets hold in districts around Darwin.

In Cyprus, day-time time maximum temperatures hit 40-42 degrees Celsius across much of the island, posing health risks for the elderly and young children.

In the UK, the Meteorological Office predicted that temperatures could hit 33 degrees this weekend. Together with Public Health England (PHE), it now places its “heat health alert” just one step below ‘national emergency’.

Greenhouse gases

Meanwhile, figures that claimed that Scotland had had its hottest-ever day on June 28th, at 32.8 degrees were retracted. Embarrassingly, “a stationary vehicle with its engine running” had been parked too close to the thermometer.

The high temperatures are blamed by many on the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, raising fears that heatwaves and drought will become far more common.

Temperatures in Northern Siberia hit 33 degrees on Thursday, more than double the normal temperatures in the region, raising fears that billion of tonnes of C02s held for centuries in frozen permafrost could be released.

“2018 has unfortunately been a prime example of global warming’s effect on the jet stream. Northern Siberia has been getting blowtorched by heat that refuses to quit,” wrote meteorologist Nick Humphrey.

Hurricanes will become more frequent. The western region of the North Atlantic Ocean yesterday saw the birth of Tropical Storm Beryl, which is expected to become a hurricane later today, according to Humphrey.

In Asia, a number of countries such as Japan, South Korea and China are braced for Typhoon Maria, which is now “a Category 5-equivalent super-typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph”, writes Humphrey.

Ireland, however, is not faced with hurricanes in the near future, but the continuing heatwave and drought are a stark reminder, say climate change advocates, that humans are changing the planet.