Heat waves hit around the globe.  Scientists say climate change is making them more common

Heat waves hit around the globe. Scientists say climate change is making them more common

So much of the nation is smoldering under temperatures that have Outdoor sports canceledTriggering wildfires and straining infrastructure to keep people cool, experts warn heatwaves are only becoming more common.

Heatwaves are just one of the types of extreme-weather climate change that’s becoming more common — but they’ve already resulted in deaths both in the US and around the world this year.

“This is the climate change we were promised by scientists,” Michal Nachmany, founder of Climate Policy Radar, told CBS News foreign correspondent Ramy Inocencio of record-breaking temperatures in the UK this week.

“This extreme weather is life threatening and we really want to make sure people are not under the illusion that this is serious and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future,” Nachmany said.

In Phoenix, for example, heat kills as many people as homicides, said David Hondula, the city’s director of heat response and mitigation CBS News“Ben Tracy.

Climate scientist Daniel Swain, who writes about western U.S. weather on his website last week, pointed out that what he called “a sustained and locally intense heat wave across western North America over the coming weeks” “will least extreme event of this kind” is currently on several continents”, including Europe and China.

The Associated Press reports that heat waves in China earlier this month — particularly in Zhejiang province, east of Shanghai — saw temperatures top 42 degrees Celsius (up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit). The heat also hospitalized people in Henang, Sichuan and Heilongiang provinces.

The number of people from heat is increasing this year both around the world and in the surrounding area. In North Texas, where Firefighters fought 780% more fires in July compared to last year – and officials said a 66-year-old woman died due to heat-related reasons this week – La Niña helps fight drought conditions and intense heat.

“We’re having a pretty big drought all over north and central Texas. This drought has caused us to head into summer much earlier than we normally see,” Sarah Barnes, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas, told CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave.

Those drought conditions are leading to hotter temperatures, the NWS said.

“We’re certainly seeing more extreme weather due to climate change,” Barnes added.

While the air conditioning is one of the best ways to stay cool, it is not common everywhere. And when the power goes out, the air conditioning goes off too.

“Over the past five years, the number of power outages per year has doubled, and most blackouts occur in summer when the weather is warm,” says Brian Stone, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology who studies urban climate change, said CBS Moneywatch earlier this year.

in the Texas, the grid has already been taxed by extreme temperatures this summer — and officials in other states warn their power infrastructure could also be.

“Most summers these days are the hottest summers ever. Anything above that is just an insidious risk of legacy infrastructure… and these trends are converging at the wrong time,” Stone said.

This week the Britain recorded a record 40 degrees Celsiusor about 104 Fahrenheit — 30 degrees hotter than typical summer temperatures in a country where it’s estimated less than 5% of homes have air conditioning, reports CBS News foreign correspondent Roxana Saberi.

“Climate change has everything to do with the extreme weather that we’re seeing right now, and it’s human-caused climate change. It’s not natural variation,” Kirsty McCabe, meteorologist at Britain’s Royal Meteorological Society, told CBS News correspondent Roxana Saberi.

The extreme heat has contributed to wildfires in the UK and across Europe – including France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.

“We used to look at polar bears and then say, ‘This is about our children and our grandchildren,'” Nachmany said. “This is not. This is us. That is here. That is now.”

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