The Washington Post reports: In the midst of a historic heat wave in the West, the mercury in Death Valley, California surged to a searing 130 degrees on Sunday afternoon, possibly setting a world record for the highest temperature ever observed during the month of August. If the temperature is valid, it would also rank among the top three highest temperatures ever reliably measured on the planet at any time and may, in fact, be the highest… The only two hotter measurements include the disputed 1913 Death Valley reading and a 131-degree reading from Kebili, Tunisia, set July 7, 1931, which is considered to be Africa’s hottest temperature. But the Tunisia mark also has “serious credibility issues,” according to Christopher Burt, an expert on extreme weather data… The scorching temperature occurred amid a suffocating heat wave which has gripped the western U.S. since late last week, and is forecast to continue into the coming week. On Friday, Oakland hit 100 for the first time on record in August while Phoenix tied its hottest temperature for the month: 117 degrees. Then on Saturday, Needles, in California’s southeast desert, soared to 123 degrees, its highest August temperature on record. Sacramento rocketed to 112 degrees Sunday, topping its previous August record of 110… Scientists have found that the intensity, duration, and frequency of heat waves worldwide are increasing due to human-caused climate change. And that’s creating more problems, the Post continues: The heat has intensified a rash of fires which have erupted in recent days. A blaze in northeast California, between Redding and Reno, spawned a swarm of fire tornadoes prompting what is believed to be the first-ever issued fire tornado warning by the National Weather Service… Climate studies have also concluded that climate change is having a serious effect on wildfire activity in the West and Southwest. The Fourth National Climate Assessment, published by the Trump administration in 2018, warned that climate change had already increased the size of areas burned by wildfires by drying out forests and boosting the availability of wildfire fuel. The report estimated that the area burned by wildfires in the past decade was twice what it otherwise would have been without climate change, painting a grim picture of the region’s future. Read more of this story at Slashdot.