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6 charts that show just how insane this heatwave really is

Things are heating up all over the world... and we're getting scared

6 charts that show just how insane this heatwave really is
26 July 2018

The world is on fire. It’s as simple as that. Al Gore tried to warn us but we didn’t listen, did we.

So now horrifying wildfires are raging across Europe and the UK is sweltering under an oppressive, Hellish heat, we’ve only got our foolish human selves to blame.

And while it’s difficult to draw direct links between broader climate change and specific weather events, more and more research is suggesting that things are getting worse for the planet.

Here are some of the most frightening graphs and charts that show how hot things are really getting…

1. Everywhere is getting hotter

Back in 1976, the UK experienced one of its worst ever heatwaves with extensive wildfires and 20% ‘excess deaths’. But, as meteorologist Simon Lee pointed out on Twitter, a very big difference between then and 2018 is that 1976-level temperatures are now common across the whole world.  

2. June temperatures are going up and up 

Simon Lee also drew attention to the fact that average June temperatures from 1880 to today have steadily risen. There’s been “a steep, persistent and, fundamentally, undeniable warming,” he said. 

3. Even Scandinavia is heating up 

Nasa’s data visualization and cartography expert Joshua Stevens tweeted an image of record temperatures across traditionally chilly Scandinavia and said “all-time high temperatures have been reached in Norway.”


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4. January to June is getting super hot

Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University showed that the average surface temperature on Earth between January and June this year was the third hottest half-year on record.

But even scarier, the other hottest years were 2016, 2016 and 2017. 

5. Darn jet stream!

The Met Office points out that much of Europe is experiencing a record warm spell and with the jet stream so far north, Paris could break records for maximum temperatures. Sacré bleu!

6. Pretty colours… which are actually terrifying

Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at University of Reading, has put together a cool (pun intended) project that assigns a colour to each year from blue (cold) to red (hot). As the images show, recent years are getting much, much redder. 

(Images: Getty / NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies / Columbia University / The Earth Institute)