New illustration of global warming. Record temperatures are expected on Saturday, July 15 around the world, from Europe to China via the United States, forcing the authorities to take drastic measures to deal with these heat waves.

From Saturday, southern Italy is expected to experience temperatures slightly above 38 ° C in Sardinia, Sicily, Calabria and Puglia, with peaks "at 40 degrees and beyond, especially Sunday" as in Rome (43 ° C expected Sunday) or Sardinia (48 ° C), warns the Air Force, body in charge of forecasts in Italy. The weekend will be "very hot" in many cities in the center and south, "we can reach 40 degrees and beyond, especially Sunday," she warns.

"The Mediterranean basin and central and southern Italy are covered with a screed of very hot air. This is unfortunately not new: the ongoing climate change makes this type of situation much more frequent and much more intense compared to the past, including the recent one," said Claudio Cassardo, meteorologist and professor at the University of Turin, quoted by the daily Il Messaggero on Friday.

Spain, eastern France, Germany and Poland are also facing a massive heat wave.

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Closure of the Acropolis of Athens

In the Mediterranean again, Greece is also suffering from a heat wave that forced local authorities on Friday to close the Acropolis of Athens during the hottest hours. This closure of the ancient site, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most visited in Greece, is to be renewed Saturday "for the protection of workers" and "visitors", explained the Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni.

If temperatures of 40°C to 41°C are expected in Athens, "the true temperature felt (...) by the body is considerably higher" at the top of the Acropolis, according to the minister.

The Red Cross deployed on Thursday at the foot of the Acropolis to distribute "daily at least 30,000 bottles of water of 50 cl" and help tourists who could be victims of sunstroke or fainting.

North Africa is also affected. In Morocco, which has been experiencing a series of heat waves since the beginning of the summer, a red alert for heat has been issued for several provinces.

Some parts of China, including the capital Beijing, are also suffering from a strong heat wave. Some areas of eastern Japan are also expected to reach 38 to 39 degrees Celsius on Sunday and Monday, according to the local forecaster.

On the other side of the globe, the southern United States is roasting under a heat wave: tens of millions of Americans, from California to Texas, suffered dangerously high temperatures on Friday, and which are expected to peak over the weekend. Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, recorded Friday its fifteenth day in a row above 43 degrees, according to the US weather service (NWS).

Fire risks

Globally, June was the hottest month ever measured, according to the European agencies Copernicus and US NASA and NOAA. Then, the first full week of July was the warmest on record, according to preliminary data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Heat is one of the deadliest weather events, WMO said. Last summer, in Europe alone, high temperatures caused more than 60,000 deaths, according to a recent study.

In addition to health problems, this heat wave also raises fears of repeated fires. Thus, the Greek authorities have warned of the high risk of fire, especially in regions where strong winds are expected to blow. Greece had suffered violent forest fires during the summer of 2021 due to an exceptional heat wave.

In North America, summer has already been marked by a series of weather disasters. Fire smoke in Canada, where more than 500 fires are out of control, led to several episodes of heavy air pollution over the northeastern United States in June.

Catastrophic flooding also affected this week the US state of Vermont (northeast). Scientists have pointed out that global warming can contribute to more frequent and heavier rainfall, by increasing water vapor in the atmosphere.

With AFP

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