A ferocious heat wave is scorching the Middle East. A high pressure system has stalled over Iran and Iraq and is resulting in some of the highest temperatures ever recorded in populate areas. If the system should move north, it will affect Europe in coming weeks. Temperatures in Baghdad have reached up to 126F, and are predicted to remain above 115F for the next 10 days. The entire region is suffering exceptional heat, and the poor and displaced in conflict countries are having problems getting water. In many places, electricity is sporadic, and there is little air conditioning except in the wealthier countries such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. The king of Saudi Arabia has moved to the south of France for the duration, and many wealth middle easterners have gone north as well.

This heat wave is causing exceptional temperatures even in these normally hot areas of the planet. At present, the heat appears to be trapped over the region, and if it does not move, over the next ten days temperatures could go higher, and pollution could reach dangerous levels in urban areas across the region. On Thursday, the heat index in the Iranian port city of Bandar-e Mahshahr was reported at 74C, or 165F. The actual temperature was 125F.

Meanwhile, in Australia, where it is winter, unusual cold prevails. Normally mild Melbourne is experiencing temperatures of 10-15F below normal, and has had an extremely unusual snowfall.