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The "Misery Index" on June 6,, showing extremely hot conditions across the Middle East and parts of South Asia. (Earth.nullschool.net)

At the same time as much of the Lower 48 states are seeing temperatures soar through the 90s, an unusually severe heat wave for this time of year has also struck the Middle East.

Why it matters: While these extreme weather events have roots in various weather systems, human-caused climate change is raising the odds and worsening the severity of extreme heat events worldwide.

Driving the news: In the U.S., the heat first built across the West's parched landscape in late May, causing drought to worsen further and helping fuel Arizona wildfires. The heat has since spread all the way to the Upper Midwest and Northeast, breaking records as it has done so.

  • In the Twin Cities, for example, the ongoing heat wave could become the third-longest stretch of 90-degree days on record, Axios Twin Cities reported.

Details:

  • At the same time, an unusually severe early season heat wave has enveloped the Middle East and South Asia, prompting temperatures to spike above the 50°C (122°F) mark in at least five countries: Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran and Pakistan.
  • Typically, the hottest time of year in the Persian Gulf region as well as Pakistan comes in July.
  • The UAE tied its national all-time heat record on June 6 when the temperature in Sweihan, located about 70 miles outside Abu Dhabi, reached a sizzling 51.8 °C (125.2°F). This beat the previous record for the month of June, as well, according to Meteo-France meteorologist Etienne Kapikian.
  • Weather historian Maximiliano Herrera described the heat in the Middle East as well as Central Asia (temperatures set records in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well) as the "[h]arshest heat wave in history for this time of the year."

Threat level: Studies show that climate change could result in a Middle East that's virtually uninhabitable for several months a year by the middle of this century. Already, temperatures have flirted with such inhospitable levels, hitting 129°F in Kuwait and Iraq in 2016, for example.

Go deeper: Study: Climate change directly linked to over a third of global heat deaths

Go deeper

Jun 8, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

How close will the Twin Cities get to the 1936 heat wave?

Expand chart
Data: Fox 9; Chart: Axios Visuals

Five days into a stretch of 90-degree heat, the Twin Cities are poised to make it into the top three longest heat waves in the area's history if the forecast holds true.

Driving the news: Highs have hit 90 or above every day since last Thursday, and forecasters expect temps in the 90s through Friday. That would put the area at nine straight days of 90-degree weather.

  • That's still short of the record in 1936, when Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recorded 14 consecutive days in the 90s.

Yes, but: The forecast calls for upper 80s Saturday through next Wednesday. A couple more degrees warmer and that's flirting with 1936.

Flashback: That heat wave 85 years ago was really something. It hit 108 on July 14, 1936, and 51 people died from the heat on that day alone, according to a Pioneer Press story.

  • "It was so oppressive that notorious criminal Alvin Karpis pleaded guilty to kidnapping St. Paul brewery president William Hamm Jr., preferring to face a possible life sentence instead of enduring a trial in the stifling federal courthouse (now Landmark Center)," the paper reported.

What's ahead: Meteorologist Paul Douglas, who warned of a hot and dry summer weeks ago, is doubling down, saying the climate models "predict excessive heat into August."

The big picture: "One of the most robust conclusions of climate studies is that as average temperatures increase, heat waves are becoming more likely and more severe not just in the Upper Midwest, but worldwide," said Axios' Andrew Freedman.

Jun 8, 2021 - Axios Denver

Denver's history of 90-degree days

Expand chart
Data: National Weather Service; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We're four days into a stretch of 90° heat, marking the hottest week yet this year in Denver.

Driving the news: Highs are expected to reach at least 90° every day through at least Thursday.

  • Yes, but: That's still short of the records in 2012 and 2008, when the National Weather Service counted 24 straight days of 90s both years.
Jun 7, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Record-breaking heat wave hits Minneapolis

Lake Nokomis Beach was filled with people escaping the sweltering heat on Saturday. Photo: Nick Halter/Axios

Minneapolis' sweltering heat this weekend is going to stick around for at least a week, and maybe longer.

Driving the news: Daily high temperatures set records on both Friday and Saturday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

  • A high of 99° recorded there on Saturday broke the record for June 5 by 7 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

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