Heatwaves to continue through August, says WMO

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Southern Europe is grappling with a record-breaking heatwave during the summer season. (AP pic)

GENEVA: Heatwaves are expected to persist in a large part of the world throughout August, an adviser on extreme heat said today, following on from record temperatures in recent weeks.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said earlier this week it expected temperatures in North America, Asia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean to be above 40° Celsius “for a prolonged number of days this week as the heatwave intensifies”.

“We should expect or at least plan for these extreme heatwaves to continue through August,” senior extreme heat advisor for the WMO John Nairn told Reuters.

Southern Europe is grappling with a record-breaking heatwave during the peak summer tourist season, prompting the authorities to warn of an increased risk of health problems and even death.

Extreme weather has also disrupted the lives of millions of Americans, with dangerous heat stretching from Southern California to the Deep South. Sweltering heat has also hit the Middle East.

Nairn said climate change meant heatwaves would become more frequent and be spread across the seasons.

“We’re on trend in seeing a rise in global temperatures that will contribute to heatwaves increasing in intensity and frequency,” Nairn said.

“We’ve got quite clear indications that they’re already growing out into spring.”

Some countries including the 27-member European Union are hoping all nations will agree at UN climate talks later this year to phase out the fossil fuel consumption that causes climate change.

Countries with oil and gas resources have opposed the idea.

“There is very strong evidence that if we were to eliminate fossil fuels, we would reduce a major contributor to what we are seeing,” Nairn said.

“We can’t turn it around in a hurry, but we certainly can take action.”

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