Extreme Heat Wave Sweeps The Globe

Jul 26, 2018

With Jane Clayson

A dangerous and deadly heat wave grips the globe. We’ll look at where and why it’s happening.


Jeff Ray, meteorologist at CBS News in Dallas/Fort Worth. (@cbs11jeffrey)

Paolo Ruti, chief of the World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather Research Programme.

Jack Cushman, managing editor and reporter at Inside Climate News, a Pulitzer Prize-winning non-profit, non-partisan news organization dedicated to covering climate change, energy, and the environment. (@jackcushmanjr)

Rachel Licker, senior climate scientist with the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. (@RachelLicker)

From The Reading List

BBC: “Reality Check: Mapping the global heatwave” — “Countries across the world have been facing extremely high temperatures this summer. From the UK, across to Scandinavia and Japan, the hot weather is expected to continue for the rest of the month. Japan has just declared a natural disaster, with high temperatures leading to thousands being admitted to hospital with heat stroke. Various temperature records for July were broken in southern California, eastern Canada, Algeria and Norway.”

Slate: “Can We Blame the Summer Heat Wave on Global Warming?” — “We are currently in the middle of a scorching hot summer with heat records being set around the world. On July 5, it reached 124 degrees Fahrenheit in Algeria: an all-time record both for the country and the entire African continent. The following day, Los Angeles set an all-time record at 111 degrees. This past Sunday, Japan logged its hottest temperature ever amid a heat wave that’s killed 77 so far. The implication seems clear. Global warming isn’t some far-off hypothetical; It’s happening right here, right now, and we can see it in our thermometers. But is that completely correct? Hot summer days happen all the time. Can we really say that the scorchers this summer are climate change’s fault?”

CityLab: “Just How Bad Is the European Heat Wave?” — “While Greece’s experience has been the most lethal, it’s actually further north where the hot weather has been most unprecedented, part of a string of broken records stretching as far back as early June. Sweden is experiencing its hottest July in at least 260 years, while Northern Ireland and Wales—typically an especially fresh, rainy fringe to the already fresh and rainy British Isles—experienced their hottest June temperatures on record. This stretch of hot weather doesn’t have an end in sight just yet, with highs expected to reach far past 90 degrees across large sections of Northern Europe during the next week.”

Seventy dead in Canada. Eighty in Japan. 127 degrees in Death Valley. A heat wave is sizzling across the globe. Even the Arctic Circle is burning. Records are shattering. Wildfires are raging, deadly ones in Greece. Airports close, sidewalks buckle and power flickers out. Just as scientists predicted, the climate is officially entering the twilight zone.

This hour, On Point: Extreme heat fires up the world. What’s the sun telling us?

— Jane Clayson

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