time to explore with esplora

Malta’s first heat wave strikes… hard

Temperatures may climb as high as 43 degrees Celsius, according to forecasters mapping out a strong North African ridge of high pressure.

This would be the first record-breaking heat of the year for the Maltese Islands, as temperatures soar to no less than 38 degrees this week. On the off chance that you think you’ll be enjoying some cool, summer evenings, think again. Even nighttime temperatures are set to be above 25 degrees Celsius throughout.

A heat wave, by definition, is a spell of three or more consecutive days with daytime highs exceeding the average maximum temperature for that particular time of year by five degrees or more. The heat wave that we are currently experiencing will bring temperatures more than 10 degrees the average for this time of year, at times.

On 22 June, the Moderate Resolution imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), on NASA’s satellite, captured an image of dust blowing from the North of Africa. The dust appears to have travelled from Algeria to Mali, blowing across a thousand kilometres, due to a huge mesoscale convective weather system. The dust is expected to continue travelling up further north into Europe this week.

Tens of millions of tons of dust blow out every year from northern and western Africa, picked up from the Sahara Desert. Dust storms can indeed degrade the air quality, however, they also play a crucial role in absorbing and reflecting sun energy to regulate the Earth’s climate. The dust also fertilises the ocean and land ecosystems, with iron and other minerals, which help phytoplankton and other plants grow.

That being said, with a UV index of 11+, there is extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Do the following to avoid the effects of the heat wave:

Avoid all unnecessary exposure to the sun, especially between 11am and 4pm.

Drink plenty of water to replace fluids lost through sweating.

Eat more cold foods such as fruit and salads.

Opt for indoor physical activity or carry out your activity in the morning or at night.

Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat if and when going out.

Wear light, loose-fitting clothing.

Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, and this includes animals.