As I’m writing this, here in Montélimar (southern France) the temperature has soared to 39°C (102°F). Yes, a heatwave is rolling across southern Europe. We’re getting droughts and wildfires.
Is this just summer-weather-as-usual, or is this what Global Warming means? The growing concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is measured and monitored, and we know that it correlates with a progressive warming of the Earth. As global temperatures rise, extreme heat touches more places more frequently. Extreme highs that used to occur once in 20 years now occur every 10 to 15 years.
Climate change has made European heat waves more frequent, and at least 10 times more frequent in the South. In Rome, water had to be rationed. Wildfires in southern Italy threaten thousands of people, animals and a nature reserve near Mount Vesuvius.
In Spain, the drought devastated cereal crops and threatens grape, olive, almond, pistachio and walnut harvests. Spain is also suffering from the salinisation of water in aquifers and wells.
In India, the drought and resulting indebtedness have driven thousands of farmers to suicide.
Summers around the world are warmer. City dwellers are particularly affected.
Some record high temperatures in recent years:
- Spain – Cordoba 47.3°C (117.1F) 13 July 2017
- China 50.3° (122.5°F) 24 July 2015
- India 51°C (123.8°F) 19 May 2016
- Pakistan – 53.5°C (128.3° F) 28 May 2017
- Chile 44.9°C (112.8°F) 26 Jan 2017
- Iran 54°C (129°F) 29 June 2017
- Iraq 53.9°C (129°F) 22 July 2016
In 2016, the Earth reached its highest temperature on record for the third year in a row.
Hey – when are we going to stop pumping those greenhouse gases into the air?