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Computer model depiction of the combination of heat and humidity across North Africa and Europe on Wednesday. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A weather station in Sicily may have set an all-time high temperature record for all of Europe on Wednesday, when the temperature climbed to a scorching 48.8°C (119.8°F) amid a regional heat wave that has shown few signs of relenting.

The big picture: The intense heat wave continues to roast the Mediterranean and northern Africa. The hot and dry weather has played a large role in creating the conditions conducive for explosive and devastating wildfires in Turkey and Greece.

Details: Numerous monthly and national temperature records have fallen during the heat wave, including in Greece, Turkey and Tunisia, but if verified through an examination of the weather instruments, the Sicily observation would be the most noteworthy. The previous continental heat record was 48°C (118.4°F), set in Greece in 1977.

  • For the record to be considered, a committee from the World Meteorological Organization would need to investigate the instrumentation and circumstances of the data, including whether similar temperatures were observed nearby.

Context: As detailed in the IPCC climate report released Monday, human emissions of greenhouse gases are dramatically escalating the risk and severity of extreme heat events across the globe.

  • This summer has featured unprecedented heat in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., as well as in Europe. In the U.S. on Wednesday, about 170 million are under heat advisories or excessive heat warnings from the Northwest to East Coast.

The intrigue: There are some questions about the validity of the temperature reading, however. Randy Cerveny, the World Meteorological Organization's rapporteur for weather records, told the Associated Press the reading is “suspicious, so we’re not going to make any immediate determination.”

“It doesn’t sound terribly plausible,” Cerveny said. “But we’re not going to dismiss it.”

What's next: The hottest temperatures associated with this particular heat dome are expected to shift to Spain and Portugal in coming days, raising wildfire concerns in both nations.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Biden's extreme weather message: code red

President Biden tours a neighborhood today in Manville, New Jersey, that was hit by the remnants of Ida. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden demonstrated during visits Tuesday to flood-ravaged New Jersey and New York that he's keen to link recent extreme weather events with calls to tackle climate change.

Why it matters: It could convince more resistant audiences about the seriousness of global warming and also fuel the case for some of those major infrastructure investments Democrats have been promoting.

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."

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