Intense heat is gripping large parts of the northern hemisphere in this summer of extremes. New daily and station temperature records have been broken and it is possible that some records may fall. The WMO will examine any potential new continental temperature records as the heatwave continues.
June saw the warmest global average temperature on record, which continued into July, according to preliminary figures.
“The extreme weather – an increasingly frequent occurrence in our warming climate – is having a major impact on human health, ecosystems, economies, agriculture, energy and water supplies,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas. “This underlines the increasing urgency of cutting greenhouse gas emissions as quickly and as deeply as possible.
“In addition we have to step up efforts to help society adapt to what is unfortunately becoming the new normal. The WMO community is providing forecasts and warnings to protect lives and livelihoods as we strive to achieve our goal of Early Warnings for All.”
Meanwhile, heavy precipitation has caused devastating floods and loss of life in some countries, including the Republic of Korea, Japan and northeastern USA.
Heatwaves are among the deadliest natural hazards, with thousands of people dying from heat-related causes each year. Large parts of north Africa, the Mediterranean, Asia and the southern USA have been hit by parallel and stationary heat domes.
Sea surface temperatures of the Mediterranean will be exceptionally high over the coming days and weeks, exceeding 30°C in some parts, and more than 4°C above average in a large part of the western Mediterranean. The impacts of marine heatwaves impacts include migration of species and extinctions, and arrival of invasive species with consequences for fisheries and aquaculture.
There is no immediate respite in sight. Continuation into August is possible, according to a Climate Watch Advisory issued by the Climate Monitoring node of the WMO’s Regional Climate Centre for Europe.
“An increasing number of studies demonstrate connections between rapid warming and Arctic and mid-latitude weather patterns, including atmospheric dynamics such as the jet stream,” said Alvaro Silva, an expert with WMO climate services division.
“The jet stream becomes weaker and wavier when warm air is transported to the north and cold air to the south. In these conditions, near-stationary weather patterns establish and lead to prolonged heatwaves and drought in some regions and heavy precipitation in others.”
“We need to broaden focus beyond maximum temperatures, because the minimum temperature is most important for health and critical infrastructure,” said WMO extreme heat senior advisor John Nairn.