A historic and deadly heat wave has been scorching western Europe, killing hundreds in Spain and Portugal. Temperatures spiked to 115 degrees on the Iberian Peninsula amid bone-dry conditions, fueling wildfires and displacing thousands of people in France. The mercury topped 100 degrees (38 Celsius) in Britain on Monday and is expected to surge higher Tuesday.
For the first time, the U.K. Met Office has issued a red warning for heat, its most extreme alert. The warning, in effect through Tuesday, includes Birmingham, Oxford, Nottingham and London.
Wales already established its highest temperature on record Monday, and England could be next Tuesday, with temperatures as high as 104 degrees (40 Celsius).
At the same time, another heat wave is brewing across the pond in the United States — one that produced a tie for Salt Lake City’s highest temperature Sunday and could bring readings as high as 113 degrees in Texas and Oklahoma on Tuesday.
A third heat wave is simmering in Central Asia.
These heat waves fit into a pattern of increasingly frequent, intense and prolonged events catalyzed by climate change. Human activities are pushing already high-end heat into record territory. [Continue reading…]