Burning planet: why are the world’s heatwaves getting more intense?

Firefighters battle Spanish wildfires as 11 villages are evacuated in heatwave

Brits may have been sweltering yesterday what was the hottest day of the year for the UK, with many in London and the south of England experiencing temperatures of more than 90F.

Members of the Military Emergencies Unit work to extinguish a wildfire near Artesa de Segre, Spain, June 16, 2022

But elsewhere in Europe the mercury kept climbing amid a searing heatwave which exacerbated wildfires in Spain and prompted evacuations from several villages.

Spain was already heading towards its hottest early summer temperatures in decades this week, with forecasts of between 104-108F in northeast and northwest Spain, according to national weather agency AEMET…READ ON

Burning planet: why are the world’s heatwaves getting more intense?

When the temperature readings started to come through from Antarctic weather stations in early March, scientists at first thought there might have been some mistake. Temperatures, which should have been cooling rapidly as the south pole’s brief summer faded, were soaring – at the Vostok station, about 800 miles from the geographic south pole, thermometers recorded a massive 15C hotter than the previous all-time record, while at Terra Nova coastal base the water hovered above freezing, unheard of for the time of year.

Scientists have been able quickly to prove that these record-breaking temperatures are no natural occurrence.

“Wow. I have never seen anything like this,” ice scientist Ted Scambos, of the University of Colorado, told the Associated Press.

But that was not all. At the north pole, similarly unusual temperatures were also being recorded, astonishing for the time of year when the Arctic should be slowly emerging from its winter deep freeze. The region was more than 3C warmer than its long-term average, researchers said.

To induce a heatwave at one pole may be regarded as a warning; heatwaves at both poles at once start to look a lot like climate catastrophe…READ ON

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