Wednesday August 15, 2018

Pena: Heat waves


WHILE we were experiencing continuous rains and flooding last month in the Philippines, other parts of the world are reeling in sweltering heat. There are heat waves in Asia, North America and Europe, some even breaking temperature records. Why are these heat waves happening? It’s quick to say that it’s due to global warming. But until experts confirm these incidents with scientific evidence, we can only speculate.

Here are the data I gathered from the news. For comparison, the hottest recorded temperature in the Philippines was 42.2 degrees Celcius on May 11, 1969 in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

Spain - There are three (3) dead due to heat wave. In southern Spain, the heat in the tourist city of Cordoba reached 44 degrees Celcius. In Catalonia in the northeast, a fire on the border with France forced the closure of a highway between both countries for several hours.

Portugal - In Monchique in the south, a forest fire raged on two fronts, aided by “a temperature of 46 degrees Celcius but a real feel of 50 degrees” and very little humidity in the air.

Austria - In Vienna, police dogs were fitted with special shoes because they would have to spend hours walking on surfaces exposed to the sun that could easily go over 50 degrees Celcius.

Netherlands - Certain sections of highways were closed because the heat had melted the asphalt.

France - Four nuclear reactors in have been closed due to the heat wave. Three cities banned the most polluting cars from the roads because of heat-linked ozone pollution.

Germany - Both April and May set new temperature records as the warmest April and May since modern record-keeping began in 1881.

The Netherlands - Experienced a heat wave of 13 days between 15 and 27 July, the country's longest since the European heat wave of 2006. The highest temperature of 38.2 degrees Celcius was measured in Arcen, Limburg, on 26 July.

Sweden - May 2018 was the warmest May and July 2018 was the warmest July ever recorded.

Switzerland - had the warmest April-July period since meteorological records began in 1864.

United Kingdom - From the start of June to mid-July the UK underwent their driest summer in modern records. A heat wave was officially declared on 22 June.

United States - at least nine all-time temperature records have been broken and 10 records have tied. One of them was Chino, California, which hit 48.9°C on July 6. Death Valley in California had the hottest July ever measured. In Denver, Colorado, temperature on 28 June, tied the city's record at 40.6 degrees Celcius which was set in 1878.

Canada - From July 1 to 6, 2018, the air temperature consistently rose above 35 degrees Celcius in parts of Quebec and Ontario. As of 10 July, 74 people, most of them already ill, had died heat-related deaths in Quebec.

Mexico - The states of Baja California, Sonora, Nayarit, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Querétaro and Morelos registered temperatures between 40 °C to 45 °C, while Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Michoacán and Hidalgo between 45 degrees Celcius and 50 degrees Celcius. By early June 2018, the Mexican government had declared a state of emergency in more than three hundred municipalities.

South Korea - Temperatures between 38 degrees Celcius to 39 degrees Celcius are said to be the highest in Seoul since their government started compiling the data in 1907.Twenty-seven people have died of heat stroke and more than 2,200 people have been taken to the hospital for heat-related conditions.

Pakistan - At least 65 people have died in temperatures as high as 44 degrees Celcius.

Oman - A village in this country saw temperatures linger above 42.2 degrees Celcius for 51 hours straight, which likely broke the world record for highest minimum temperature ever.

Japan - In July, temperatures reached 41.1 degrees Celcius in Kumagaya, Japan, the highest-ever recorded temperature in the country. Around 80 people died. Their weather agency declared the heat wave a natural disaster.

Meanwhile, the 28th annual State of the Climate report of the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information which was published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society placed 2017 as the third-warmest year on record for the globe, behind 2016 (first) and 2015. With the heat waves being experienced now, 2018 might also be one of the hottest year ever.