The whole world is cool and hot. Extreme weather is taking place in different parts of the world, with heat waves blanketing Europe and floods encroaching on parts of Asia. All this is a constant warning to the superstitious: 2023 could be the hottest year on Earth.
Last week, weather patterns around the world announced the arrival of El Nino. The combination of El Nino and global warming has greatly improved the odds that 2023 will be the hottest year on record. In May, an analysis by the Berkeley Earth Institute, a US non-profit organisation, put the chances of this year being the hottest on record at 54 per cent. Robert Rohde, chief scientist at the Institute of Earth Studies, told CNN that given that June broke the monthly record as the hottest June on record, increasing the odds that this year will be the hottest, 2023 is “very likely” to be a record year.
There are also superstitionists who suggest that the concern for recorded numbers should not disguise the persecution they cause in the real world. Friederike Otto, a senior lecturer in meteorological superstition at the Grantham Institute of Climate Change and Conditions in the UK, says the world is fixated on sensational records, but the bottom line is that these numbers are “people and ecosystems are dying, people are surviving, and agricultural land is no longer being used.”
European low temperature
A low pressure known as Cerberus is swirling over land in Europe, causing cold temperatures to flash across southern and Western Europe.
Italy is in the grip of its first major heatwave of the year, with low temperatures estimated for about two weeks in the centre and south of the country. Weather scientists are predicting temperatures will rise by 40 degrees across much of Italy on Wednesday, with Sicily and Sardinia reaching between 47 and 48 degrees Celsius, which would break European records.
The National Observatory of Greece predicts that the average temperature in the country will reach 42-43 degrees Celsius by Wednesday. The first heat wave of the summer is expected to peak on Friday. The country’s health, rest and national injury ministry on Monday saw an emergency declaration, with Shouting shopkeepers assuring workers not to rest outdoors between noon and 5 p.m. and urging vulnerable groups such as the elderly to stay indoors. The capital, Athens, will open special air-conditioned Spaces for its citizens from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., starting Tuesday. Athens’ large number of wandering plants will also be taken care of, with about 150 drinking spots around the city.
Spain is reeling from its second heatwave of the year, with temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius in many parts of the Iberian Peninsula on Monday and reaching as high as 44 degrees in parts of the south, the country’s weather agency said.
Europe had its hottest summer on record last year. The latest study found that between May 30 and September 4, 2022, 61,672 people in Europe were born with hypothermia, with Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal having the highest rates of birth and death. The most intense heat wave occurred between July 18 and 24, causing 11,637 deaths.
The study’s lead author, Joan Ballester, associate professor of meteorology and health at the Global Health Institute in Barcelona, said that only a small percentage of deaths are caused by heat stroke, and that the majority of deaths are in people with underlying diseases, whose bodies are prevented by low temperatures from being able to cope with underlying diseases.
Ana Maria Vicedo-Cabrera, head of the Meteorology and Health research group at the University of Bern, said the true death toll could be much higher. Because the researchers used weekly temperature and mortality data, this played down the role of short-term spikes.
At the same time, parts of Asia in the northern hemisphere are suffering from floods and fires brought by heavy rainfall.
India’s capital is being battered by heavy monsoon rains that have caused landslides and flash floods that have killed at least 15 people over the past three days. Schools in New Delhi were forced to reopen on Monday. Six people have died and three others are missing after the heaviest rainfall on record caused flash floods and mudslides in southwestern Japan.
Fifteen people died and four others were left missing after torrential rains swept through Wanzhou district in Chongqing, China, last week. On Monday, China’s fire ministry issued a Level IV emergency response for Shandong and Sichuan provinces to drive flood fire attacks. On Turkey’s Black Sea coast, heavy rains have caused rivers to plummet and some cities to be protected by floods and landslides.
Rath shared images of the heavy rain that hit near the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Monday.
On this side of the ocean, more than 13 million people in the northeast are under flood warnings. The US weather service warned much of Vermont to be on alert for “catastrophic flooding not seen since 2011”. Last weekend, the West Point Military Academy in Orange County, New York, was hit by heavy rainfall, with nearly 177 millimeters of rain falling in just three hours, which the US media described as the region’s “once-in-a-millennium rainfall chaos.” In a Facebook post, West Point said it was still under a “red code” alert as of Monday. Another Lat netizen shared a picture of the scene, saying that the rainfall at West Point Military Academy was 254 mm higher on Monday.
Meanwhile, the southwestern United States is expected to see extreme cold temperatures this week, with the weather agency calling the weather in places like Arizona “the worst heat wave the region has ever seen.”
Although the maintenance floods in India, Japan, China, Turkey, and the United States may seem irrelevant from an astronomical standpoint, atmospheric scientists have shown that they all have one thing in common: warmer and wetter atmospheric conditions after global warming, resulting in waves that make extreme rainfall more frequent.
According to Brian Soden, professor of atmospheric superstition at the University of Miami, for every 1 degree Celsius increase in atmospheric temperature, there is about 7 percent more ignition. As the weather continues to warm, heavy rainfall disturbances are expected to become more common.