Fecha de publicación: 
1 August 2022
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Once again, the thousand-year-old giant sequoias of Yosemite Park are threatened by one of the largest forest fires of the year in California.

But at this point, those iconic trees are almost being bumped to second chair because human lives are also threatened.

And this is not the only part of the planet where this phenomenon is happening. At the time I am writing these lines, over six thousand people had been evacuated.

In general, the whole planet is sending an urgent SOS as a result of high temperatures, which reach records never seen before, bringing along thousands of deaths, forest fires and other calamities.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a world map that reveals the areas where high surface air temperatures have been recorded during the months of June and July.

There is an exceptional heat wave particularly affecting Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In the European case, where red flags are raised this summer, according to the NASA study, Portugal, Spain and part of France are some of the countries where these very high temperatures have impacted the most, reaching the 45 Celsius degrees.

Last Saturday, Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, conveyed his "heartfelt condolences to the peoples and governments of Spain and Portugal for the consequences of the heat wave," and extended his words of comfort to relatives and friends of the many deceased as a result of the weather event.

Also in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, historical heat records have been registered.

For its part, a third of the US population is under warnings of excessive heat, so it was throughout the last weekend.

Half of China is on alert involving over 900 million of its citizens and in particular, 84 cities in the northeastern provinces have issued red alerts of the highest level.

The effects on the flora and fauna, especially as a result of forest fires, cannot yet be estimated, but there are millions of hectares of forest consumed by the flames in different regions. Italy, for example, recorded earlier this month the collapse of a section of the Marmolada glacier in the Dolomite mountains. The avalanche that accompanied the phenomenon led to the death of 11 people.

Thermometers in Iran exceeded 52 Celsius degrees while in Tunisia, its historical 40 years-old record was broken and the heat is already seriously affecting its cereal harvests.

Why the alarming rise in temperatures?

The head of the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Steven Pawson, specified that the high temperatures recorded in several nations have not only broken historical records, but are part of current reality as a result of greenhouse gas emissions derived from human activity that impact climate change, which affects life on Earth.

This historic heat wave, especially in the case of Europe, is proving right the fact that climate change is a dramatic reality.

In this regard, the UN and other international organizations warn that as long as greenhouse gas emissions are not stopped or at least reduced, global warming will be increasingly evident resulting in extreme weather events and, at the same time, will affect the life cycles of all beings on the planet.

Added to gas emissions is the overexploitation of natural resources such as water, not only due to droughts but also due to industrial activity, and also indiscriminate logging, just to mention two examples, but they are far from being the only ones.

And if the rise of temperatures is alarming, so will be the intense cold resulting from this climate out of balance.

"Those hotter or cooler phases of that natural unbalance are going to be exacerbated. We may suffer excessively hot timeframes, but that doesn't prevent the possibility that in a year or two the UK will experience a very cold summer." This is what Benjamín Martínez López, Ph.D. in Natural Sciences from the University of Hamburg, also a member of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences of the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, ratifies.

The professor points out that one of the problems in climate management is that governments are specially focused on solving immediate problems without dwelling too much on long-term solutions.

In Cuba, although extreme temperatures do not seem to be recorded so far in July, the wind chill factor is suffocating. This is calculated "from the forecast values ​​of temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed, both with or without the influence of solar radiation." This coincides with the fact that July, together with June, is traditionally one of the two warmer months of the year.

Cuban experts will carry out deeper analysis once the month ends.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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