An Inconvenient Truth and An Intolerable Summer

Greenhouse gas emissions have not only heated the earth to its hottest temperature in millennia; they have also made heat waves more intense. The journal Nature said in 2004 that “severe heat waves are now four times as likely to occur because of increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.”

A roundup of news coverage from this week’s heat wave in the U.S. and Europe gives a sense of what we can expect in the future:

Nevada: “Reno set a record for heat Sunday, breaking an 81-year-old record, according to the National Weather Service.”

Czech Republic: “The temperature in Prague climbed up to 34.3 degrees centigrade today and beat the 141 year old record of the day by 0.6 degrees.”

South Dakota: “Saturday’s statewide high temperature that unofficially tied a South Dakota record set 70 years earlier is likely to stand, a National Weather Service employee says.”

Britain: “Britain sweltered on the hottest July day for nearly a century as the current heatwave reached its peak.”

California: “Indio (122 degrees), Palm Springs (118), Riverside (108), Sun City-Perris (108), San Bernardino (107), Temecula (106) and Moreno Valley (104) all set record highs Saturday, according to the National Weather Service and records kept by The Press-Enterprise.”

Arkansas: “Another scorcher today after record temperatures were set in some Arkansas cities yesterday. Monticello reached 109 degrees Wednesday and in Little Rock a record of 104 degrees for the date was set.”

New Hampshire: “It reached 95 degrees in Manchester. That beats the previous high for the date of 93 degrees. The old record was set in 1968.”

New York and Connecticut: “Dangerous heat settled over the Central Plains and Northeast for another day Tuesday, producing record high temperatures in New York and Connecticut, said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Weather Service.”

North Dakota: “In Bismarck, the temperature broke a record and Dickinson tied a record.”

Kansas: “…a day that saw a record high temperature of 109 for Wichita, topping by 2 degrees the mark set during the legendary heat wave of 1980.”

Germany: “Germany’s national meteorological service said July was on the way to being the hottest since records began in many parts of the country.”