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Climate change intensified heat wave

Shared from the 6/12/2019 The Denver Post eEdition

By Jason Samenow
The Associated Press

Simultaneous heat waves scorched land areas all over the Northern Hemisphere last summer, killing hundreds and hospitalizing thousands while intensifying destructive and deadly wildfires.

A study published this week in the journal Earth’s Future concludes that this heat wave epidemic “would not have occurred without human-induced climate change.”

The alarming part? There are signs record-setting heat waves are beginning anew this summer — signaling, perhaps, that these exceptional and widespread heat spells are now the norm.

Just in the past few days, abnormal heat has afflicted several parts of the Northern Hemisphere, including major population centers.

New Delhi, India’s capital, soared to 118.4 degrees Monday, its highest temperature ever recorded in June. Some parts of India have seen the mercury eclipse 122 degrees in recent days.

On the other side of the hemisphere, the temperature in San Francisco shot up to 100 degrees Monday, its highest temperatures ever recorded in the months of June, July or August, or this early in the calendar year.

Heat spread unusually far north, even up into the northern reaches of Scandinavia. Mika Rantanen, a meteorologist at the University of Helsinki, tweeted Friday that “(t)here are no known cases in Finland’s climate history when it has been hotter than now so early in the summer.”

Temperatures above 86 degrees penetrated inside the Arctic Circle, he noted.

A heat wave in Japan at the end of the May set scores of records, including the country’s highest temperature ever recorded in the month (103.1 degrees).

The oppressive conditions were blamed for five deaths and nearly 600 hospitalizations.

Last summer, exceptional heat affected 22 percent of the populated and agricultural areas of the Northern Hemisphere between the months of May and July, the Earth’s Future study said. The contiguous U.S. witnessed its hottest May on record, California endured its hottest July and numerous European cities notched their highest temperatures ever recorded, while cities in Asia, the Middle East and Africa also established new heat milestones.

 

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