Temp Records Shattered Across Northern Hemisphere; 33 Lives Lost to Heat in Quebec

Over the past week, 21 all-time temperature records were shattered across the Northern Hemisphere. These records coincide with an extreme heatwave blanketing large parts of Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. A heatwave that has resulted in the tragic loss of 33 lives in Quebec.

(Global heatwave in context.)

According to news reports, major temperature records in this broad ranging swath of heat included a 105 F (40.5 C) reading in Denver, a scorching 122.4 F (50.2 C) temperature in Pakistan, a ridiculous 97.9 F (36.6 C) reading in Montreal, and a 91.8 F (33.2 C) reading in Motherwell Scotland of all places (see graphic here).

In Quebec, safety officials were inundated with 1,200 calls per day due to heat stress and heat injury. Emergency crews were at the ready with 3,400 house visits conducted each day. Despite the high state of readiness, 33 people so far are reported to have lost their lives — primarily middle aged to elderly males. High heat, high humidity, and lack of residential cooling all contributed to heat injuries and loss of life over this typically much cooler region.

In context, a total of 23 all time record high maximum and record high minimum temperatures have been produced as a result of the present heatwave during the past 7 days. This compares to zero all time record low maximum and zero record low minimum temperatures over the same time period. Daily and monthly record highs and record high minimum temperatures are outpacing record low temperatures on a global basis at a rate of 4-12 to 1.

Global warming due to fossil fuel burning has put us in a 115,000 year heatwave on a whole Earth system based context. So we can continue to expect record high temperatures to be breached at higher rates.

(Very high incidence of all time record hot temperatures over the past 7 days. Image source: NOAA.)

According to GFS model forecasts, extreme heat is expected to continue to impact of number of Northern Hemisphere regions over the coming days. Though the North American East may see a respite from the heat over the 1-5 day horizon, high temperatures are expected to continue to hammer western and central zones. Northeast Siberia is predicted to see extreme heat early on, which is then expected to shift west into Eastern Siberia and Scandinavia. Meanwhile, the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Central Asia are predicted to continue to experience much hotter than normal summer temperatures.



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