Heat Wave Continues Scorching North Africa

About a week and a half ago, the Algerian city of Ouargla set an African continent high-temperature record of 124.3 degrees Fahrenheit (51.3 degrees Celsius). Wednesday’s high in Ouargla was a mere 111 degrees, six degrees cooler than Hassi-Messaoud, Algeria, just 50 miles away.

The first week of July saw blistering temperatures across all of North Africa, already the world’s hottest continent. Four of today’s five highest temperatures were recorded in Algeria, and the fifth was posted in neighboring Tunisia.

Vernon, Texas, and Needles, California, are Wednesday’s U.S. hotspots with an early morning temperature of 93. The 15 hottest U.S. cities all recorded temperatures of at least 91 degrees.

Temperatures in the Middle East remain very high as well. An Iranian city rang up 111 degrees today, as did Kuwait’s international airport. Two Saudi cities posted highs of 109 Wednesday.

In large parts of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), rising temperatures challenge the very existence of the inhabitants. As the climate warms, living conditions in these parts of the world will become even harsher with longer, hotter heat waves and more severe dust storms that could leave the regions uninhabitable. In the Sahel transitional zone between the Sahara desert and the Sudanian savanna, up to 12% of GDP could disappear by 2050 as water resources dry up.

In the United States, Denver set an all-time record high of 105 on June 28, and Glasgow, Scotland, set its own record high of 89.4 degrees on the same day. And get this: on June 28, Quiryat, Oman, recorded the hottest “low” temperature of all time, on any continent: 109 degrees. That’s absurd.

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