The World Bakes Under Extreme Heat | Kanebridge News
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The World Bakes Under Extreme Heat

Warming oceans and heat domes are contributing to one of the hottest summers on record

By ALYSSA LUKPAT and
Thu, Jul 20, 2023 9:38amGrey Clock 4 min

Deadly heat waves are upending daily life in large parts of the U.S., Europe and Asia, as warming oceans and unprecedented humidity fuel one of Earth’s hottest summers on record.

Meteorologists say last month was the hottest June on record and 2023 could be the hottest year ever if July’s record temperatures continue, straining businesses and threatening power grids.

Several factors are contributing to the record heat this summer, said Brett Anderson, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. Among them: Unusually warm oceans are raising humidity levels; several heat domes are trapping warmth around the world for longer than usual; and jet streams are causing deadly storms like the ones in Vermont this month to move slowly.

The hot seas and a recurring warm climate pattern called El Niño are compounding the effects of climate change, which scientists say is contributing to higher global temperatures.

“We are seeing an increasing number and more extremes and this is because of global warming,” said Jose Alvaro Mendes Pimpao Alves Silva, a consulting climatologist for the World Meteorological Organization, referring to extreme heat waves. “These situations are not unprecedented. But as they happen, their intensity is higher.”

Climate change has exacerbated extreme heat events, which have increased sixfold since the 1980s, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Increasing surface temperatures from climate warming make heat waves longer, more intense, and produce the weather conditions that keep them stalled over one place.

Global ocean temperatures hit record highs for the third consecutive month after El Niño conditions strengthened in June, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

High-pressure heat domes that bring sweltering temperatures have occurred during the past few summers, but having four of them over land at the same time is still surprising to Carl Schreck, a tropical climatologist at North Carolina State University who works with NOAA.

“We’ve seen this over the last couple of summers, but it’s still remarkable when it does appear,” said Schreck.

Still, the sustained heat waves haven’t stopped tourists from hitting the beach in Spain or visiting landmarks in Washington, D.C. Some have even basked in the heat in California’s Death Valley, one of the hottest places on Earth.

U.S.

Several cities, including Phoenix, have broken records as the southern U.S. deals with unrelenting heat. El Paso, Texas, logged a record 33rd day in a row Tuesday with triple-digit temperatures. Texas’ power grids have held up despite concerns they couldn’t handle demand surges.

In the North, parts of Michigan, New York and Vermont have also broken daily temperature records this summer.

The waters off Florida in recent weeks have been hotter than 90 degrees, several degrees above normal, according to NOAA. The temperatures are threatening the coral reefs off the coast and fueling heat and humidity in the southern part of the state.

Europe

Europe is baking under a sustained heat wave that is covering much of the Mediterranean, according to the World Meteorological Organization. The Spanish state meteorological service warned of temperatures of between 108 and 111 degrees and issued alerts for the interior and Balearic Islands. Parts of the Balkans are also under alert.

The Italian island of Sardinia was forecast to approach an all-time high for the continent on Tuesday. Sicily set the highest recorded temperature in Europe at 119.8 degrees Fahrenheit, in August 2021.

Alberto Urpi, the mayor of Sanluri in Sardinia, said authorities had issued a weather red alert for the area, advising people to stay inside from late morning until 6 p.m.

“We are ready,” said Urpi. “We’ve gotten used to these heat waves and have had time to organise our response.”

Authorities closed the Acropolis in Athens for a large part of Friday and Saturday due to the heat. The Greek capital is forecast to stay above 97 degrees all week, topping out at almost 110 on Sunday.

Middle East

As temperatures soar to about 100 degrees across Egypt, the government has been cutting power in neighbourhoods across the country, forcing ordinary Egyptians to go without air conditioning, fans and refrigeration even during the hottest hours of the day.

“We are having horrible nights. Babies are crying because of the high temperatures and our refrigerator broke down,” said Nemaa Moustafa, a 31-year-old homemaker with newly born twins.

Egypt is in the midst of an economic crisis that has officials scrambling to bring in foreign currency to pay off staggering debts and stave off a currency collapse. Diverting the country’s natural-gas resources away from domestic use and toward lucrative exports is one way to get U.S. dollars.

In El-Shorouk city, on the outskirts of greater Cairo, residents said power cuts were happening four or five times a day, leaving them without electricity for hours. Some said they were also experiencing water disruptions making it more difficult to cope with the heat. Many stores and supermarkets have struggled to keep food fresh as refrigerators go down amid the cuts.

Asia

Another heat wave is simultaneously sweeping across parts of Asia. In China, a village in the northwestern region of Xinjiang hit a record high 126 degrees, according to state media.

During the heat wave, the U.S. climate envoy John Kerry met Chinese officials including Beijing’s top foreign policy envoy, Wang Yi, and Premier Li Qiang to discuss how to accelerate decarbonisation and other climate change goals. China and the U.S. are the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters.

Silva from the World Meteorological Organization said there are currently high-pressure systems trapping hot air in the region. The systems will remain in place over the next several days.

“It’s moving very slowly, but we will not have this situation forever,” Silva said.

—Chao Deng contributed to this article.

 



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The United Arab Emirates is improving its electric vehicle infrastructure with a new government-owned EV charging network.

Wed, May 22, 2024 2 min

The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI) alongside Etihad Water and Electricity (Etihad WE) have collaborated to form UAEV, a new joint venture aimed at strengthening the electric vehicle (EV) charging framework throughout the UAE. This venture is the first EV charging network entirely owned by the government, aimed at broadening access to EV charging facilities across the country.

The project seeks to revolutionize the UAE’s transport sector by enabling broader adoption of EVs via a robust and widespread charging infrastructure. This initiative is expected to strengthen communities, generate employment, and promote eco-friendly transportation options.

Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said: “UAEV embodies the power of partnership between government and industry, and aims to provide vital electric vehicle infrastructure to boost adoption of EVs, energize communities, and unleash the economic potential of the UAE.

“We hope that this partnership will further accelerate the transition to cleaner transportation and significantly reduce emissions from the transportation sector, thereby helping to bring our Net Zero 2050 Strategy within reach.”

Sharif Al Olama, who has been appointed Chairman of UAEV, said: “In 2023, we saw a rise in EV adoption in the UAE. By expanding our EV infrastructure, we ensure the country is equipped to support those who have already purchased an EV and make the prospect of switching to EV attractive.

“Together, MoEI and Etihad WE form a powerful force that can help future-proof the UAE and achieve the twin objectives of economic growth and climate action, which underpin UAEV.”

The UAEV is also a perfect platform for Etihad WE, the largest employer in the Northern Emirates and a company with a customer base of over 2 million households, to use its core competency and enhance its product offering.

Yousif Ahmed Al Ali, CEO of Etihad Water and Electricity and Board Member of UAEV, explained: “It is part of a deliberate strategy to diversify our operations, using the knowledge and experience acquired from our role as long-standing pioneers in the energy sector, to explore new products, services, projects, and investments which will benefit our customers.

“UAEV charging infrastructure will contribute to the modernization of the UAE’s transport network, help energize communities by creating new jobs, and empower our customers to make more sustainable choices.”

 

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