More than 1,000 deaths have been linked to the extreme heat waves in Portugal while in Spain it is at least 500. Firefighting helicopters were dropping water, one after the other. Winds in excess of 80km/h (49mph) have made it harder to contain the fire. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from surrounding areas, including eastern Gerakas, which is home to nearly 30,000 people.
More extreme heat is affecting the southern half of the UK with temperatures predicted to reach the mid 30s Celsius
I thought that all the fire hydrants were above ground turns out in the UK, It’s all neatly tucked away under drain covers so as not to get damaged. Even the most rural of properties has a supply of water which can be accessed by the fire brigade in an emergency. Its not well known but, some that are not near a mains water supply have reservoirs that the fire brigade regularly check and fill to make sure if something happens they can respond.
In Portugal, some 900 firefighters were fighting two active fires in the country’s far north.
Major fires have also affected Italy in the past days, causing the country to be put on its highest heatwave alert for Thursday. Italian infrastructure has also been heavily impacted, with temporary closure of a key rail route between Rome and Florence. As the heatwave moves north-eastwards, parts of Germany have recorded 38C (100.4F) on Wednesday.
Despite the heat waves, heavy rain, strong gusts of wind of around 100 km/h and even hail are forecast. Thunderstorms are also expected in Belgium.
Dry lightning strikes when there is less than 2.5mm (0.1in) of rainfall.
Scientists have identified the weather conditions that create dry lightning, which starts California’s most devastating wildfires.
These conditions can be modelled over the long term to better predict these very rare weather events.
And this will help governments and emergency services respond more quickly, as extreme wildfires increase in frequency and size.
The lower part of the Earth’s atmosphere – the troposphere – is so dry that the rain that normally comes with lightning evaporates before it falls.
Now, the scientists have identified the conditions that cause this:
- higher land temperatures
- dryness in the low troposphere
- moisture and instability in the mid-troposphere
- The high temperatures and dryness are also ideal conditions for vegetation to burn.
And climate change is expected to raise temperatures and reduce rainfall in California in coming years.
In August 2020, more than 12,000 dry-lightning strikes started over 650 wildfires across California, burning more than 1.5 million acres of land, with hundreds of thousands of people evacuated.
Lightning is suspect to have ignited the McKinney fire, the state’s largest this year, burning for the past week.
New Bill on climate control passed
Despite the US courts putting the environment last on the list, they managed to pass a bill called the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Which is another attempt at curbing fossil fuels and fuel emissions from power plants.
How will the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) work and what will it achieve in terms of reining in global temperatures?
Well this time they’re going with a tried and tested approach by putting it in the hands of consumers and voters.
Consumers will get incentives under the bill to purchase new and second-hand electric cars, to warm their homes with heat pumps and even to cook their food using electric induction.
Electricity generators will get ten years of tax credits to supply more wind and solar power, which will lead to more renewable energy being supplied to the market. This will displace emissions-heavy gas and coal.
Although the US bill provides $370bn in climate spending, those of us in the Global South are wondering why the US and other rich countries have failed to keep their own promise to collectively provide $100bn of climate finance to poor and vulnerable countries by 2020. Track Global Temperatures
The war in Ukraine and global worries over inflation and fuel supplies next winter are dominating public concerns, despite the heat waves and droughts that are currently stalking the world.
There’s a way we can show definitively where this extra CO2 came from. The carbon produced by burning fossil fuels has a distinctive chemical signature.
Tree rings and polar ice both record changes in atmospheric chemistry. When examined they show that carbon – specifically from fossil sources – has risen significantly since 1850.
Analysis shows that for 800,000 years, atmospheric CO2 did not rise above 300 parts per million (ppm). But since the Industrial Revolution, the CO2 concentration has soared to its current level of nearly 420 ppm.
Computer simulations, known as climate models, have been used to show what would have happened to temperatures without the massive amounts of greenhouse gases released by humans.
The question remains will we be able to cut the necessary use of fossil fuels and reduce our emission output in enough time to slow the heating of the earth before it’s too far out of our control?