October 4, 2023

Triple-digit temperatures expected in the US Southwest as global heat shows no sign of easing

A new week, a new burner.

A prolonged heat wave continues to grip the Southwest this week, with temperatures forecast to reach well into the triple digits in what could become the longest heat wave on record, according to the National Weather Service.

This summer is already going to be sweltering hot for much of the country – and the world. Last week, global average temperatures set new records or matched existing records for four days in a row, according to preliminary data from the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

Phoenix and much of south-central Arizona are baking under hotter-than-normal temperatures for the second week in a row, with little relief in sight for the next several days.

“The current streak of 110+ degree days in Phoenix Sky Harbor sits at 10 days, which equates to the 7th longest since record keeping began in the late 1890s,” the NWS said in its area forecast Monday. “With predicted highs of 111 degrees today and 112 degrees Tuesday, this may be our only chance to break the streak over the next week or so.”

Temperatures are is expected to rise as the week progresseswith Phoenix expected to hit 115 degrees F on Thursday and Friday.

The suffocating conditions are caused by a high-pressure heat dome that remains over the region.

Studies have shown that climate change is causing heat waves to become more frequent and severe. Extreme heat events are also expected to last longer in a warming world.

In addition to human-induced global warming, a naturally occurring climate pattern known as El Niño amplifies extreme weather events.

El Niño, which occurs when waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific become warmer than normal, can have far-reaching effects on global temperatures and lead to extreme weather and climate anomalies around the world.

This week in the US, heat is expected to increase in the southern part of the country, with hot and humid conditions particularly affecting Texas and Florida, according to the NWS.

Andres Matamoros sits in the shade trying to stay cool as he sells fresh fruit and cold coconuts in Houston on June 28, 2023. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Andres Matamoros sits in the shade trying to stay cool as he sells fresh fruit and cold coconuts in Houston on June 28, 2023. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Heat index readings, or how conditions “feel” when humidity and air temperatures are combined, could top 110 degrees F this week in parts of south Florida, south Texas and in the desert regions of California, Arizona and New Mexico, said the desk .

“Dangerous conditions are possible if citizens cannot find relief in air-conditioned buildings,” the NWS said Monday.

Heat causes more deaths in the US each year than any other weather event, according to the NWS. Extreme heat can affect anyone, but children, the elderly, pregnant women, outdoor workers, and people with pre-existing conditions are considered the most vulnerable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat events have been linked to an increase in cardiovascular, respiratory and kidney disease.

“Oppressive” heat and high humidity are also expected through the central plains, with the heat index rising above 100 degrees F in some places, the agency said.

Many other regions of the world are also experiencing record-breaking heat. In China, residents are battling a protracted streak of dangerously high temperatures, prompting officials in several cities to open bomb shelters to the public to provide relief, The Associated Press reported.

Authorities in Japan issued the first heat stroke warning of the year for Tokyo on Monday as temperatures in the capital reached 95 degrees F.

Parts of North Africa are suffering from a relentless heat wave, with temperatures exceeding 110 degrees F in Algeria, Niger and Morocco in recent days.

Parts of southern Europe are also bracing for sweltering conditions this week as a heat wave envelops countries such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece. The Spanish state’s meteorological office said Monday that certain regions of the country could experience temperatures ranging from 104 degrees to 111 degrees F.

A newly published study in the journal Nature Medicine found that last summer was the hottest summer on record in Europe. Researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health estimate that between May 30 and September 4, 2022, 61,672 people died from heat-related illnesses.

As temperatures rise over land, the world’s oceans are also significantly warmer than normal.

A heat dome that has set in over Florida in recent weeks has pushed up temperatures in the southern part of the state and coastal waters. On Sunday in the Florida Keys, water temperatures exceeded 90 degrees F — “almost hot tub hot,” writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben tweeted on Sunday.

Brian McNoldy, a climatologist and senior research associate at the University of Miami, said the waters around the Sunshine State are much hotter than normal for this time of year.

“Okay, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the water around Florida look like this… any time of the year,” McNoldy tweeted on Sunday.

The dizzying water temperatures off Florida’s coast have numerous consequences, as warm water is a key ingredient in fueling strong hurricanes. Record heat in coastal waters could also affect the health of marine ecosystems and coral reefs.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.c

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