Things are heating up across the globe. Heat waves are setting all-time records in temperature world-wide. Europe experienced its deadliest fire in more than a century, and one of nearly 90 large fires in the western U.S. West burned dozens of homes and forced the evacuation of at least 37,000 people near Redding, California. Flood-inducing downpours have pounded the U.S. East this week.
Scientists say that this is worse than a normal summer because of climate change.
“Weirdness abounds,” said Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis.
Japan hit 106 degrees on Monday, its hottest temperature ever. Records fell in parts of Massachusetts, Maine, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, New Mexico and Texas.
And then there’s unprecedented heat in Europe, where normally chilly Norway, Sweden and Finland all had temperatures they have never seen before on any date, pushing past 90 degrees.
Just this month, at least 118 of these all-time heat records have been set or tied across the globe, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“We now have very strong evidence that global warming has already put a thumb on the scales, upping the odds of extremes like severe heat and heavy rainfall,” Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said.
“We find that global warming has increased the odds of record-setting hot events over more than 80 percent of the planet, and has increased the odds of record-setting wet events at around half of the planet.”
Climate change is making the world warmer because of the build-up of heat-trapping gases from the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil and other human activities.
In the United States on Friday, there were 89 active large fires, consuming nearly 900,000 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. So far this year, fires have burned 4.15 million acres, which is nearly 14 percent higher than average over the past 10 years.
Study author Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research said Friday that now it “reads like a prediction of what has been happening and will continue to happen as long as average temperatures continue to rise with ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. It’s no mystery.”