Exceptional heat, rain of July wreak havoc on health, environment in Northern Hemisphere

Exceptional heat, rain of July wreak havoc on health, environment in Northern Hemisphere

Extreme weather underlines increasing urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says World Meteorological Organization

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

GENEVA (AA) – The extreme natural phenomena of heat and rainfall that occurred over the summer had a negative impact on both the health and the environment of the Northern Hemisphere, according to a report prepared by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The report, which was published on Thursday, said marine heat waves affected vast portions of the ocean, and July was the warmest month on record.

Several wildfires have ravaged regions of Canada and the Mediterranean, such as Algeria, Greece, Italy, and Spain, causing multiple fatalities and forcing thousands to evacuate.

Canada is currently undergoing the most severe wildfire season in North America, it said, adding that these wildfires are damaging air quality for millions of people and continuing to burn in the country's north.

As reported by the EU Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) in July, the report said the estimated carbon emissions caused by wildfires in Canada this year were double the total for the previous year.

During the second half of July, CAMS recorded a considerable increase in the intensity of wildfires and related emissions in Greece and the eastern Mediterranean.

In July, China set a new record for the highest national daily temperature. Meanwhile, in early August, the country was hit by record rainfall.

Temperatures broke new records globally throughout July, while certain regions of South America were hit by an unprecedented winter heat wave in early August.

New sea surface temperature records were set in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Florida.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also noted that Florida has not experienced heat stress levels this high since satellite records began in 1985.

"The extreme weather – an increasingly frequent occurrence in our warming climate – is having a major impact on human health, ecosystems, economies, agriculture, energy, and water supplies," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in the report.

"This underlines the increasing urgency of cutting greenhouse gas emissions as quickly and as deeply as possible," Taalas added.

He urged countries to step up efforts to help society adapt to what is "unfortunately becoming the new normal."

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