May 18, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.,
Updated on May 19, 2022 at 09:49
Reading time: 4 minutes
Hats and shorts are in order this Wednesday, May 18. The mercury will exceed 30°C over a large part of the territory, with peaks of up to 35°C in the Toulouse region. “ France experiences an episode of exceptional heatobserves Matthieu Sorel, climatologist at Météo France. The weather is hot and dry, and has been since the end of April. »
In question: a persistent anticyclone, an atmospheric phenomenon which acts “ as a barrier against depression », says the researcher. Result: little wind, few clouds, and good weather . “ These “hot flushes” are not uncommon in May, but the problem is that they are getting hotter and hotterwarns Mr. Sorel. Behind all this, there is climate change, which amplifies the phenomenon. » The average temperatures are thus getting higher and higher, and “ we are now breaking heat records with disconcerting “ease” ». Already in 2019, climatologist Robert Vautard alerted us: “ We are witnessing a disconnect between, on the one hand, the average temperature of the atmosphere, which has increased by 1.5°C in a hundred years, and that of extreme events, the increase in which is much greater and more unpredictable. . »
Consequence of this summer spring: the drought has permanently settled in France. “ Already dry soils cause higher temperatures, which in turn accentuate soil drying, it is a vicious circle », describes Mr. Sorel. It does not provide “ no improvement » on that front, even if thunderstorms are expected in certain regions. Tablecloths, already down at the beginning of the monthwill no longer recharge. “ We will have to do everything this summer with the water we have now », says the climatologist. Sixteen departments have taken the lead, ordering a restriction on water withdrawals.
51°C in Pakistan, 48°C in Saudi Arabia, 46°C in Egypt…
France is far from being an exception. Spain could see peaks over 40°C this weekend. A much of Western Europe is going through a particularly scorching month of May. It will make it worse “ extreme drought » which has been affecting the continent for several months, according to the European meteorological service Copernicus: “ The lack of precipitation has led to a drop in the level of the rivers, in particular the Po [Italie] and the Danube », pointed out the agency at the beginning of May. Decreased hydroelectric production, compromised harvests and tensions around water resources… The year 2022 is likely to be catastrophic. In the Middle East: the thermometer showed more than 48 ° C in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and over 46°C in Egypt.
But it is in India and Pakistan that the rise in mercury has done the most damage. The world temperature record in 2022 was broken in Pakistan: it was 51°C in Jacobabadon May 14th. “ It is quite common to have such temperatures in May in these countriesnotes Matthieu Sorel. This is the hot season preceding the monsoon. What is remarkable is the duration of this wave, there were almost two months of suffocating heat. »
Dehydrated birds literally fall from the sky
In northern Pakistan, rising temperatures caused a glacial lake to melt, releasing waves that swept away everything in their path. Other consequences: lack of water, power cuts – the network is overloaded by air conditioners –, fires… Birds even literally fall from the sky due to dehydration. So many facets of the drama unfolding in Southeast Asia.
As recommended by the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published last February, “ urgent, more ambitious adaptations with accelerated action »and especially accompanied “ rapid and drastic cuts in our greenhouse gas emissions » are needed more than ever.
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