Hot in the Holy City: Jerusalem Breaks 120-year Record

As glacial lakes grow and the Amazon burns, the good news is that replacing steak with tofu won’t give you moobs

Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster
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Amazon on fire
Amazon on fireCredit: Andre Penner/AP
Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster

Jerusalem experiences hottest day ever

The heat in Jerusalem broke the record on Thursday, rising more than one degree above the previous high set almost 120 years ago, in 1902. How hot was it in Jerusalem on Thursday? 42.3 degrees Celsius (over 108 degrees Fahrenheit) . This week Jerusalem is supposed to be cooler, everything being relative, with another spikelet to about 37 degrees Celsius on Thursday. The inland Galilee, however, will be blistering with the temperature in Beit She’an starting the week at 40 and rising to 45 degrees Celsius on Thursday, says the Meteorological Service. You have been warned.

LISTEN: Kosovo, COVID and Bibi's brilliant bravadoCredit: Haaretz Weekly Podcast

As Zafrir Rinat warns in Haaretz, those temperatures may yet seem tame. Experts are predicting that the average temperature in Israel will rise by 4 degrees Celsius by 2100 if the trajectory doesn’t change. Various parts of the Middle East (and other places too) are already suffering bouts of unsurvivable heat stress.

A nun shelters from the sun in the baking Old City of JerusalemCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Breaking records in Brazil

Among the things not helpful to curbing global warming are raging wildfires in California and the Amazon: ZME Science warns that fires in the Brazilian Amazon are already breaking the 2019 record, according to satellite images. While the fires in California are inadvertent, in Brazil the government is allowing loggers, farmers and others to burn down vast tracts of trees for the ostensible sake of economic advancement, ignoring their contribution to making more and more of the planet unsurvivable.

Meanwhile, on Venus

We have known about the approaching danger of unsurvivable heat for years and can’t pretend this is happening to somebody else’s planet. Apropos, in eons yore it seems Venus, none other, may have been “Earth-like” in the sense that it had oceans and air, but scientists suspect that about 700 million years ago runaway global warming, its cause unknown, turned it into a red-hot planet with temperatures that could melt lead.

Earth isn’t expected to turn into a red-hot planet where lead would wilt any time soon but scientists have been warning of the potential danger of vicious circles – such as warming land and oceans releasing vast amounts of thawed methane into the atmosphere, which could exacerbate global warming, which will cause more methane emissions, etc. If the Earth turns too hot we know whose fault it is.

Glacial lakes are growing fast

The amount of water in glacial lakes has increased 50 percent since 1990, researchers estimate. Obviously it’s because of climate change and global warming, which have been affecting the northern-most latitudes the worst. Almost all glaciers are in retreat and as they melt, water collects where it can – which is a harbinger less of sea level rise and more of deadly floods into downstream towns.

The glacial lake Perito Moreno, ArgentinaCredit: Luca Galuzzi /

NASA tracks glacial lake growth over 30 yearsCredit: NASA Goddard, Youtube

Poor sleep linked with Alzheimer’s

Oh dear. A new study from the University of California, Berkeley correlates poor sleep with Alzheimer’s. It’s a little bitty study on all of 32 adults aged 60 to 80, but the researchers claim that participants with relatively fragmented sleep (less non-rapid eye movement sleep) were most likely to develop increased levels of beta-amyloid plaques, aka brain goo. Life lesson: sleep better, and good luck with that. This connects to the bête noir of climate change because the hotter it is, science has proved, the less well people sleep . But maybe by the time to gets so hot we can’t sleep well any more, our brains will be too gummed up to notice it.

Soy it ain’t so

In potentially better news for the environment, ZME also brings the happy news that consuming soy won’t give you moobs, even if you eat it twice a day. Soy has both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects, and nutritional studies are traditionally all over the place, so if the truth is out there we don’t know what it is. But evidently you can eat the bean instead of the behemoth for the sake of your arteries and the planet alike without fear for your machismo.

The termini of the glaciers in Bhutan's Himalayas: Glacial lakes have been rapidly forming on the surface of the debris-covered glaciers in this region during the last few decadesCredit: Jeffrey Kargel, USGS / NASA JPL

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