The northern hemisphere is having a baking summer and its not just down to climate change
Last week, authorities in Sweden took an unusual step. They issued an appeal for international aid to help them tackle an epidemic of wildfires that has spread across the nation over the past few days.
After months without rain, followed by weeks of soaring temperatures, the nations forests had become tinderboxes.
The result was inevitable. Wildfires broke out and, by the end of last week, more than 50 forest blazes a dozen inside the Arctic circle had spread across Sweden.
A nation famous for its cold and snow found itself unable to cope with the conflagrations taking place within its border and so made its appeal for international help, a request that has already been answered by Norway and Italy who have both sent airborne firefighting teams to help battle Swedens blazes.
Nor is the nations fiery fate particularly unusual at present. Across much of the northern hemisphere, intense and prolonged heatwaves have triggered disruption and devastation as North America, the Arctic, northern Europe and Africa have sweltered in record-breaking temperatures. In Africa, a weather station at Ouargla, Algeria, in the Sahara desert, recorded a temperature of 51.3C, the highest reliable temperature ever recorded in Africa. In Japan, where temperatures have reached more than 40C, people were last week urged to take precautions after the death toll reached 30 with thousands more having sought hospital treatment for heat-related conditions. And in California increased use of air conditioning units, switched on to counter the scorching conditions there, has led to power shortages.
But perhaps the strangest impact of the intense heat has been felt in Canada. It too has been gripped by ferocious heat, with Toronto recording temperatures that have exceeded 30C on 18 days so far this year. This figure compares with only nine such days all last summer.
Dozens have died in the withering heat with startling and grim consequences. Montreals morgue has been swamped with the bodies of those who have died because of the heat, and many corpses have had to be stored elsewhere in the city. Montreal coroner Jean Brochu said it was first time the citys morgue had been overwhelmed this way.
Britains scorching weather which has melted the roof of Glasgows Science Centre and parched the lawns of the nations historic homes may have made regular UK headlines. However, it has been relatively mild in impact compared to those experienced in many other parts of the world.