Arizona's capital endures 17 consecutive days of temperatures above 43 C
Global temperatures headed toward alarming highs and extreme weather proliferated as the world's two biggest polluters, China and the United States, sought on Monday to reignite climate talks.
With scientists saying the target of keeping global warming within 1.5 C of pre-industrial levels is moving beyond reach, evidence of the crisis was everywhere.
Wildfires in Europe raged ahead of a second heat wave in two weeks that's set to send temperatures as high as 48 C. In the United States, a quarter of the population fell under extreme heat advisories, partly due to a heat dome that has settled over western states.
"In many parts of the world, today is predicted to be the hottest day on record," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, wrote Monday on Twitter.
"The #ClimateCrisis is not a warning. It's happening. I urge world leaders to ACT now."
In many parts of the world, today is predicted to be the hottest day on record. And these records have already been broken a few times this year. Heatwaves put our health and lives at risk. <br><br>The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ClimateCrisis?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ClimateCrisis</a> is not a warning. It’s happening. I urge world leaders to ACT now. <a href="https://t.co/REyXrwWT2Q">pic.twitter.com/REyXrwWT2Q</a>
Tourists in Italy's capital, Rome, cooled themselves under giant fans set up outside the Colosseum and took turns drinking from a fountain near the Spanish Steps.
In Spain, temperatures could rise to as high as 44 C in some regions. However, a forest fire on the island of La Palma in the Canaries that forced the evacuation of 4,000 people was being brought under control as temperatures fell, local official Sergio Rodriguez said in an interview on TVE.
The heat wave comes after the continent's two hottest summers on record in 2022 and 2021, as measured by the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service.
As many as 61,000 people may have died in Europe during heat waves last summer, with a repetition feared this season.
"My worry is really health — the health of vulnerable people who live just below the rooftops of houses which are not prepared for such high temperatures," said Robert Vautard, a climate scientist and director of France's Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute. "That could create a lot of deaths."
In Cyprus, a 90-year-old man died and three people were in hospital with heat stroke symptoms as temperatures spiked above 45 C on Saturday, authorities said.
Buildings and roads are storing heat during the day and releasing it at night, causing temperatures to remain up to 4 C higher than in surrounding areas and contributing to health risks for vulnerable people, said Andreas Flouris, associate professor of physiology at Greece's University of Thessaly.
"We've seen that this nighttime temperature increase in cities often contributes a lot more than we thought to mortality," Flouris said.
Wildfires burn in southern Greece
Wildfires burning south of Athens sparked evacuations on Monday — including at a horse stable in Kalyvia — as fire crews in Greece struggled to beat back flames fanned by high winds.
The United States
The heat dome across the western U.S. also helped to generate heavy rains in the northeast, claiming at least five lives.
Across the country, temperatures in Phoenix hit 45.56 C on Sunday, the 17th consecutive day of 43 C or higher. The record is 18 days, set in June 1974. Phoenix, Arizona's capital, is on track to break that record on Tuesday, said Gabriel Lojero, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Temperatures in Death Valley, which runs along part of central California's border with Nevada and dominates global heat records, reached 53.33 C on Sunday at the aptly named Furnace Creek, the National Weather Service said, just shy of what may be a record hot temperature.
In July 2021 and August 2020, Death Valley recorded a reading of 54.4 C, but both are still awaiting confirmation. Scientists have found no problems so far, but they haven't finished the analysis, said Russ Vose, climate analysis chief at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The two hottest temperatures on record are 56.7 C in 1913 in Death Valley and 55 C in Tunisia in July 1931. Christopher Burt, a weather historian for the Weather Company, finds fault with both of those measurements and lists 54.4 C in July 2021 in Death Valley as his hottest recorded temperature on Earth.
On Sunday afternoon, dozens of tourists gathered at the thermometer — some wearing fur coats as a joke — hoping to snap a picture with a temperature reading that would shock their friends and family.
"It's my first time being here, so I feel it would be really cool to be here for the hottest day ever on Earth for my first time," said Kayla Hill, 24, of Salt Lake City.
But officials are warning people about putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk by venturing out to the desert unprepared for the extreme heat.
Nichole Andler, a park ranger at Death Valley National Park, told CBC News Network the park service must evaluate each situation to "weigh the risk" before responding to someone in need, to determine if it's safe to send rangers to help.
Though she says she understands people are curious to experience some of the hottest temperatures on the planet, she wants them to understand how powerful the heat and sun are in Death Valley right now.
"You can feel the sun hitting your skin," Andler told CBC's Natalie Kalata, describing the sensation as being similar to the "pins and needles" feeling people get on their skin when being exposed to extreme cold.
The park service recommends anyone visiting Death Valley to go before 10 a.m. to avoid the most intense heat, but Andler offered some precautions that should be taken by those venturing out later in the day in the punishing heat.
She warned people not to stray too far from their vehicles or other places where they can cool down using air conditioning.
Remaining near your vehicle may also help if you require assistance as it is a lot easier to spot a car than a person in the vast desert valley, said Andler, adding It can also serve as a source of shade.
She also recommended having at least four litres of water per day per person on hand and to eat salty snacks to replenish sodium lost due to excessive sweating.
Despite 55 C heat, visitors still flock to Death Valley National Park
Nichole Andler, a park ranger at the U.S. national park in California and Nevada, discusses the health risks posed by the near-record temperatures and safety tips to keep in mind for tourists who are still visiting the park despite scorching heat in the country.
A remote township in China's arid northwest endured temperatures of more than 52 C on Sunday, state media reported, setting a record for a country that was battling – 50 C weather just six months ago.
Temperatures at Sanbao township in Xinjiang's Turpan Depression soared as high as 52.2 C on Sunday, state-run Xinjiang Daily reported on Monday, with the record heat expected to persist at least another five days.
Since April, countries across Asia have been hit by several rounds of record-breaking heat, stoking concerns about their ability to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. The target of keeping long-term global warming within 1.5 C is moving out of reach, climate experts say.
Prolonged bouts of high temperatures in China have challenged power grids and crops, and concerns are mounting of a possible repeat of last year's drought, the most severe in 60 years.
In a resumption of diplomacy on global warming between the two superpowers, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry met Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua in Beijing on Monday, urging joint action to cut methane emissions and coal-fired power.
"It is toxic for both Chinese and for Americans and for people in every country on the planet," Kerry said.
U.S. battles flash flooding, extreme heat
Parts of the U.S. are battling severe weather as deadly flooding hits the northeast and extreme heat and wildfires impact the southwest.
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