Environment

Record Heatwave in France Killed 1 500 people

Heat waves that plagued France this summer left some 1,500 people dead, according to the European nation’s health minister. There had been at about 1,000 more deaths than normal during the summer months, with half of the deceased being 75 or older. In total, there were 18 exceptionally hot days recorded in France during June and July.

Environment

After Scorching Europe, Heat Wave Is Poised to Melt Greenland

A heat wave that shattered records in Europe this week is on the move, and it could melt billions of tons of ice in Greenland.

Hot air that originated over Northern Africa recently brought blistering heat to Europe, Paris sizzled at a staggering 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit (42.6 degrees Celsius), and temperature records were broken across the continent by up to 6 degrees F (3 degrees C).

A representative of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that atmospheric flow would carry this scorching heat to Greenland, which lost over 170 billion tons (160 billion metric tons) of ice in July and 80 billion tons (72 billion metric tons) of ice in June from surface melting alone. When this warm air arrives in Greenland, it will likely cause “another major peak in melt area.

Pumping Deeper

The first nationwide study of U.S. groundwater wells shows that they are being dug deeper and deeper to supply the country’s expanding freshwater needs.

But scientists caution that the practice is not sustainable because groundwater supplies are dropping in many of the major aquifers that supply fresh water to more than 120 million people and half of U.S. farming irrigation.

Writing in the journal Nature Sustainability, researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara caution that deeper wells may eventually tap into saltier water, requiring desalination. The U.S. Geological Survey says that between 1950 and 2015, aquifer levels have dropped by about 10 feet on average.

Environment

Locusts in Sardinia

Locusts are devouring crops across the Italian island of Sardinia in the worst such invasion seen there in 70 years.

While the ravenous insects are often seen on the Mediterranean island during the summer, farmers say they are now greater in number than at any time since World War II because of extreme weather swings during the past two years.

“We had droughts in 2017 and a lot of rain in 2018, the ideal climate for locusts to emerge from fallow land and then move to cultivated fields to eat,” Michele Arbau from the agricultural association Coldiretti Sardinia told Reuters.

Heat and Dust in India

A searing heat wave across India that brought Delhi its hottest ever temperature of 118 degrees F. has killed dozens of people and severely affected wildlife.

Officials say as many as 36 people have perished in the heat so far this year.

At least one troop of monkeys died from suspected heatstroke, or from violent conflicts with other monkeys over dwindling water supplies. Similar deadly conflicts among the human population have also been reported.

Tigers that are dying from thirst in parched forests have been observed moving into communities in search of water.

Global Warming

Alaska bakes under heat wave linked to climate change

Alaska residents accustomed to subzero temperatures are experiencing a heat wave of sorts that is shattering records, with the thermometer jumping to more than 16.7 degrees Celsius above normal in some regions.

Cities and towns in the northern half of the state, including Wainwright, Nuiqsut, Kaktovik and Barrow (also known as Utqiagvik), could see temperatures soar 14 to 22 degrees Celsius above normal this weekend as the warm trend continues.

The dramatic warming Alaska has experienced in recent years — which is partly linked to a decline in sea ice and Arctic ocean warming – had wreaked havoc on local communities, wildlife and the economy.

Many recreational sled dog races have had to be canceled this year and the routing of the famed Iditarod race had to be changed as what is normally solid sea ice was open water on part of the race route.

Crab fishing has also been affected as the sea ice used as a platform for fishermen was non-existent or too thin in some areas.

Seal population is also likely to be affected in the coming months as some of the species give birth on solid ice.

The warmer temperatures have melted the rive ice to the extent it is no longer safe for truck or car travel.”

Global warming had led to the lowest ice levels in the Bering Sea — which connects with the Arctic Ocean – since 1850, when sea ice records began.

Environment

Doomsday Clock Hovers at 2 Minutes to ‘Midnight’

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Humanity might be running out of time to turn away from a path toward our utter annihilation — at least, according to the hypothetical Doomsday Clock.

Experts with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) updated the imaginary timepiece, which measures the proximity of humanity’s destruction based on the position of the clock’s hands relative to midnight — the hour of the impending apocalypse.

Last year the Doomsday Clock’s hands were set at 2 minutes to midnight, the closest it had ever been to “doomsday.” And, citing similar risks of humanity’s destruction, BAS representatives announced today that the clock will remain at 2 minutes to midnight.

But even though the clock’s hands haven’t moved, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the relentless progress of climate change — aided by widespread misinformation and fake news — are still a cause for grave concern, BAS representatives declared at a press event.

South Australia heatwave

Temperatures in southern Australian neared 48 degrees on Thursday, shattering previous records as sizzling citizens received free beer to help weather heatwave of historic proportions.

The Bureau of Meteorology reported temperatures of 47.9 Celsius (118 Fahrenheit) north of Adelaide, while inside the city temperatures reached 46.2 Celsius, a fraction above a record that had stood since 1939.

More than 13 towns across South Australia have smashed their own heat records, with some of the state forecast to see temperatures of 50 degrees by the end of the day.

Wildlife

Boiled’ Bats Fall from Sky in Australian Heat Wave

More than 200 bats have lost their lives to southern Australia’s ongoing heat wave.

As temperatures rose to 111.5 degrees Fahrenheit (44.2 degrees Celsius) in Campbelltown in the Australian state of New South Wales, a colony of that lives near the town’s train station felt the effects. Volunteers struggled to rescue the heat-stricken bats, , but at least 204 individual animals, mostly babies, died.

“They basically boil,” Kate Ryan, the colony manager for the Campbelltown bats, told the newspaper. “It affects their brain — their brain just fries and they become incoherent.”

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Wildfires

Wildfires – South Australia

The heatwave frying South East Australia gets worse as hundreds of new fires are reported.

Emergency warnings have been issued for two uncontrolled bushfires apparently started by thunderstorms in sweltering South Australia.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) says it’s receiving reports of fires at the rate of one a minute, from the state’s west to the wine region of the Barossa Valley, the Mt Lofty Ranges near Adelaide and the Murraylands.

Two fires have been given emergency warning status which means the blazes are a risk to lives and homes.

In Adelaide today, the state capital melted under 45 degree heat with more 40 degree plus temperatures forecast for the next three days.

A thunderstorm swept across the state earlier today sending lightening strikes into bushland.

A badly burned woman was fighting for her life in hospital last night after being airlifted from one of the 300 bushfires burning across the state.

Wildlife

Bats Fall Dead From Sky During Australian Heatwave

A spell of scorching summertime weather in Australia’s southern Queensland state killed as many as 100,000 bats in an environmental disaster officials called unprecedented.

Many of the flying foxes, or fruit bats, fell dead from the sky while the carcasses of others hung on branches.

Local residents said the stench of decay was unbearable as temperatures reached nearly 110° F in Brisbane.

At least 16 people were reportedly receiving anti-viral treatment after coming into close contact with a bat.

The animals sometimes carry lyssavirus, which can cause paralysis and even death in humans.

But wildlife officials say the flying foxes are a key part of the ecosystem, and such a massive loss to their populations will have consequences.

“I don’t necessarily like the bats, but I don’t like seeing them dead,” Dayboro resident Murray Paas told Guardian Australia.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was caring for many young bats left orphaned by the heat disaster.

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Environment

Unprecedented Summertime Heat Scorches Japan and China

Japan experienced its hottest temperature on record with a reading of 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit in Shimanto, a coastal city on the western island of Shikoku, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

That broke the previous record of 105.6 degrees set in August 2007.

A week of sweltering conditions sent almost 10,000 people to hospitals by ambulance across Japan, suffering from heat-related problems. Officials said at least 19 people died of heatstroke.

Air conditioning use strained the country’s power grids since Japan shut down its nuclear reactors in the wake of the tsunami-related Fukushima nuclear disaster two years ago.

Meanwhile, nearby China has experienced its hottest summer since 1961, according to the country’s National Meteorological Centre.

The official Xinhua news agency reports extreme heat since July 1 has resulted in at least 40 deaths in southern China, while more than 10 people died from heatstroke to the north in the financial hub of Shanghai alone during the period.

Authorities have for the first time declared the heat to be a second-level weather emergency, a designation normally reserved for typhoons and floods.

The World Meteorological Organization says that heat is the greatest killer of all weather phenomena, but it can take weeks after cooler weather returns to collect a full tally of heat-related fatalities.

Environment

Heatwave kills four in Japan

A heatwave stifled Japan on Sunday as the temperature topped 40 degrees Celsius in two cities, leaving at least four people dead of heatstroke over the weekend.

The temperature reached 40.6 C in Kofu, 100 kilometres west of Tokyo, in mid-afternoon. The weather agency had warned early Sunday that the temperature would soar past 35 C in 39 of the country’s 47 prefectures. It warned people to drink plenty of water and use air-conditioners. On Saturday, the mercury topped 40 C for the first time in Japan since August 2007, when it had reached an all-time high of 40.9 C in two separate cities.

The heatwave, also gripping parts of China, has been caused by a Pacific high pressure system covering most of the Japanese islands. In early July a heatwave in Japan claimed at least a dozen lives.

Environment

Heatwave in Japan

A severe heatwave that hit Japan a week ago has claimed at least a dozen lives.

On Friday, the day’s highest temperature was 38.3 degrees celsius (101 F) in Kawanehon town in Shizuoka prefecture. More than 40 other spots recorded highs of 35 degrees or more, Japan’s meteorological agency said.

Thousands of people have been taken to hospital suffering from heatstroke or exhaustion, with at least 12 of them dying.

Most of those affected are over 65, but there have also been groups of schoolchildren who were participating in school activities outside.

Drought

Heatwave – South Africa

Several parts of South Africa are currently experiencing an intense heatwave. Temperatures were between 35 to 40 degrees in the Free State, the Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

Environment

Nasa Data Confirms Widespread Heatwave in Australia

New data from US space agency NASA has confirmed that temperatures across large parts of Australia were up to 15 degrees above average during the first eight days of 2013. The data, collected and beamed to earth from NASA’s Aqua satellite, recorded temperatures across the nation from January 1 to January 8 and compared them with the first weeks of each year between 2005 to 2012.

It found that large swathes of Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory were 15 degrees above average in early 2013. Large parts of the rest of the country were also well above average. Only areas in WA’s west and northwest, including parts of the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Perth, and relatively small areas of the central NT recorded below average temperatures.

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Environment

Heatwave Conditions in Australia

More than 70 per cent of the continent is currently experiencing heatwave conditions. Among the hottest parts of the country on Friday were Wudinna, on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, which hit 48.2C. Adelaide reached 45C and Hobart reached a record 41.8C – one degree hotter than the record set in 1976. Authorities are urging people to prepare themselves and their properties in case of bushfires.