TechRecord-breaking heat wave impacts billions worldwide in early 2024

Record-breaking heat wave impacts billions worldwide in early 2024

Heat map in Europe - June 2021
Heat map in Europe - June 2021
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11:53 AM EDT, July 10, 2024

The Washington Post reports that 20 percent of the population experienced temperatures exceeding 103 degrees Fahrenheit at least once in the first five months of 2024. Scientists consider this level potentially life-threatening.

The American newspaper states that since the beginning of the year, extremely high temperatures have been recorded worldwide. For example, in early April, 102 patients died of heat stroke within just four days in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Mali.

In the same month, an explosion occurred at a military base in Cambodia due to extremely high temperatures, resulting in the death of 20 soldiers. In Mexico, dozens of howler monkeys died due to the heat—their lifeless bodies fell from the tree branches.

The Washington Post, using meteorological data collected from over 14,000 locations worldwide, estimated that by the end of May 2024, over 1.5 billion people had experienced the effects of extreme temperatures. The cities included in the analysis are home to slightly less than half of the world's population, suggesting that the number of people exposed to dangerous heat could be much higher.

According to the authors, global warming is raising temperatures, leading to an increased number of days that can pose a risk to the health and lives of people and animals. Bangkok is cited as an example, with 76 extreme temperature days recorded this year, more than twice the average for Thailand's capital.

This is a record figure compared to meteorological data maintained since 1979. The situation was much more severe in Lagos, Nigeria, where 13 times more life-threatening heat days were recorded this year than the average.

Estimates show that out of 150 cities with populations exceeding 1 million and where at least one day with temperatures above 102 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded by the end of May, 135 cities noted more dangerous heat days than the annual average.

Even though summer has just begun in the northern hemisphere, scientists predict that 2024 could be the hottest year in history. Researchers believe that the El Niño weather phenomenon and the emission of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide and methane, drive the rising temperatures.

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