The Washington Post has put together a doomsday report on the wave of scorching temperatures gripping the nation and other countries around the globe.
Can you guess what the paper claims is causing it?
The extreme weather is "supercharged by human-induced climate change," the report claims. "Climate models for three decades have predicted exactly what the world is seeing this summer."
Temperatures are expected to get so hot that what is currently setting records could someday be considered normal, according to the report.
“The old records belong to a world that no longer exists,” Martin Hoerling, a research meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the news outlet.
The report also alleged that climate change is also responsible for other weather extremes, including "heavier downpours, stronger hurricanes, longer droughts."
“You see roads melting, airplanes not being able to take off, there’s not enough water,” said Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. “Climate change hits us at our Achilles’ heel. In the Southwest, it’s water availability. On the Gulf Coast, it’s hurricanes. In the East, it’s flooding. It’s exacerbating the risks we already face today.”
In the U.S., 35 weather stations this past month have reported new records for overnight temperatures. And the record heat has caused widespread power outages in Southern California.
The report pointed to a town in Sodankyla, Finland, where the temperature reached a record-breaking 90 degrees this month. The town is located "59 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in a region known for winter snowmobiling and an abundance of reindeer."
Other heat waves have hit the Netherlands, Sweden, Britain, Ireland, and Canada, with temperatures in the upper 90s.
Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told the Post about the effect of extended high temperatures: “The accumulated energy over one month is equivalent to a small microwave oven at full power for six minutes over every square foot of the planet. No wonder things catch on fire.”
The report blamed the burning of fossil fuels as a main culprit of the increasing temperatures:
Human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, has added greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, trapping heat and making extreme weather events even more extreme. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 410 parts per million in May, the highest the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii had measured since Charles David Keeling started keeping records in 1958. NASA estimates Earth has warmed almost one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s. Of that, half a degree (around one degree F) has accrued since 1990 alone.
Heat-related deaths were also documented. Some examples from the report:
● Temperatures in Dallas hit at least 100 degrees in the past 10 of 11 days this month, and three homeless people died from heat-related causes, according to Brenda Snitzer, executive director of the Stewpot, a downtown Dallas homeless shelter.
● In Greece, high temperatures and winds are blamed for fueling wildfires that have left more than 80 people dead.
● Japan recently recorded its highest temperature in history — 106 degrees. The heat wave killed 65 people in a week and hospitalized 22,000. Also, catastrophic flooding in the country has killed 200.
● In Montreal, temperatures hit 98 degrees earlier this month, marking the hottest temperature ever recorded. An estimated 70 people died during the heat wave.