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In June and July 2022, heatwaves hit Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, as temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas and broke many long-standing records. The map presented by NASA shows surface air temperatures in most of the eastern hemisphere on July 13, 2022.


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It was produced by combining observations with a version of the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) global model, which uses mathematical equations to represent physical processes in the atmosphere.


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"While there is a clear atmospheric wave pattern of alternating warm (redder) and cold (bluer) values ​​in different locations, this large area of ​​extreme (and record) heat is another clear indicator that greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse effect due to human activity causes extreme weather phenomena that affect our living conditions," said Steven Pawson, chief of the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.


In Western Europe, which is already facing a severe drought, the heatwave fueled wildfires that ravaged Portugal, Spain and parts of France. In Portugal, temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius on July 13 in the city of Leiria, where more than 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) burned. More than half of the country was on red alert as firefighters battled 14 active fires.


The image below shows the locations of fire detections in Portugal and Spain as observed by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite on July 12, 2022.


In Italy, the record heat contributed to the collapse, on July 3, of a portion of the Marmolada glacier in the Dolomites. The snow, ice and rock avalanche killed 11 hikers.


In the UK, the Met Office issued extreme heat warnings as temperatures were expected to continue to rise, with the likelihood of breaking all-time records.


In North Africa, Tunisia suffered a heat wave and fires that affected the country's grain harvest. On July 13, in the capital Tunis, the temperature reached 48 degrees Celsius, breaking a 40-year-old record.


In Iran, temperatures remained high in July after reaching 52 degrees Celsius at the end of June.


In China, the summer brought three heat waves that damaged roads, melted tar and caused roof tiles to fall. The Xujiahui Observatory in Shanghai, where records have been kept since 1873, recorded its highest ever temperature of 40.9 degrees Celsius on July 13, 2022. High humidity and dew points, along with warm overnight temperatures, have created potentially deadly conditions.


"Such extreme heat has a direct impact on human health as well as other consequences, including these wildfires that are now occurring in Europe and Africa and have become more prevalent in recent years in North America," Pawson said.


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The heat wave recorded in the south of Europe is extending to the north. Western Europe faces sweltering temperatures on Tuesday.


Extreme heat warnings were issued in France and Britain, while northern Spain recorded temperatures of 43 degrees Celsius on Monday. Fires in France, Portugal, Spain and Greece have forced thousands of people to flee their homes. Britain is expected to have its hottest day on record and experts say parts of France are facing a "heat apocalypse".


France faced the hottest days in history, with the city of Nantes registering 42 degrees Celsius, the national meteorological office announced.


The fires of the last few days have forced more than 30,000 people to flee the area, with emergency shelters being set up for those evacuated.


A popular tourist region in the south-west, the Gironda has been particularly hard hit, with firefighters struggling to control fires that have destroyed nearly 17,000 hectares of land in the past week. "The idea that comes to my mind is that it's a monster," Jean-Luc Gleyze, the governor of the Gironde region, said of the fires. “It's a monster, like an octopus, and it grows and grows and grows everywhere. Because of the temperature, because of the wind, because of the lack of water in the air... it is a monster and it is very difficult to fight against it”.


Temperatures that hovered around 40 degrees Celsius on Monday are expected to drop on Tuesday - but that may not bring an immediate improvement as long as the drought and wind persist, reports Lucy Williamson of at the BBC, correspondent in the Gironde region.


Heat has become more frequent, more intense and lasts longer due to climate change. The world has already warmed by about 1.1 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the industrial era, and temperatures will continue to rise unless governments around the world significantly reduce emissions.


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June 2022 took third place in the ranking of the hottest Junes recorded so far globally. This is according to the data published by the European Copernicus service on climate change.


June 2019 and 2021 took first and second place in the list of the hottest months worldwide.


The Copernicus program, which monitors the climate with the help of satellites, maritime and aerial measurement systems, as well as weather stations located around the world, reveals that several "significant events" took place in June 2022.


The global average temperature for June was about 0.31 degrees Celsius higher than the average recorded between 1991 and 2020.


In Europe, it is the second hottest June ever recorded, with a temperature around 1.6 degrees Celsius higher than the average. June 2019 was the hottest June ever recorded in Europe.


Copernicus evokes in particular the extreme temperatures recorded in Spain and Italy.


"Southwest Europe, which experienced the first heat wave in the second half of May, was affected, four weeks later, by a new period of exceptional temperatures, which culminated on June 17", specified in the statement.


Outside these regions, countries such as France, Japan and the United States also experienced intense heat waves.


At the opposite extreme, in Greenland and much of South America, the study highlights lower temperatures.


"We expect heat waves similar to those observed this year to become more frequent and more severe in the coming years, both in Europe and elsewhere," estimated the director of the Copernicus climate change service, Carlo Buontempo, in the light of this information.


"It is especially important to make reliable data available to the public so that everyone can track these trends and better prepare for what's to come," he added.


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