- Heat waves have swept the world this summer.
- The US, Europe, Japan, Russia, and Greenland all experienced, at times, record-breaking high temperatures in June and July.
- From Rome to Washington to Tokyo, see how people around the world have tried to escape the heat.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
No one can outrun the heat, not this year.
It’s the height of August, and many parts of the world have been dealing with relentless heat waves this summer. The US, Europe, Japan, Russia, and Greenland have all experienced record-breaking high temperatures. July was likely the hottest month in recorded history.
These heat waves don’t care about borders. Few cultural differences exist when it comes to keeping cool.
Wildfires are burning in Alaska and Russia, and Greenland is melting rapidly. People try to escape the relentless heat in fire hydrants, fountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans alike.
Here are 31 photos showing the struggle to stay cool, hydrated, and even-tempered during a particularly hot summer.
In New York, a man splashes his face in July, using a fountain as best he can.
In July, the New York Triathlon was canceled because of the heat for the first time ever. The organization donated 1,900 gallons or water and Gatorade to New Yorkers in need.
In Brooklyn, children take the cooling off process a little more seriously.
- Yana Paskova / Getty
In July, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency in the city as the heat index was expected to reach 115 degrees.
In Washington Heights, New York, fire hydrants are harnessed to keep cool.
- Mike Segar / Reuters
Just don’t open it improperly. Every minute a fire hydrant is open illegally, more than 1,000 gallons pour out. To stop water wastage, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection deploys a team of teenagers to inform New Yorkers about the dangers of it. But New Yorkers can request that firefighters open a hydrant to use as a sprinkler – officially.
In Washington D.C., there’s no rest for those behind the camera, even in sunny weather. Here, a man keeps himself cool while fulfilling his duties as photographer, in the World War II Memorial.
- Yuri Gripas / Reuters
Washington D.C. has 20 public pools people can swim in to keep cool.
Cold treats can help. This traveler from Chile is eating a blue slushie.
- Mary F. Calvert / Reuters
Cucumber, tomatoes, and chillies are also recommended heating during a heat wave.
Outside the big cities, taking one’s mind off the heat is a little more on the nose. Here, a pair race down the Guadalupe River, in Texas.
One Texan told The New York Times, “A summer day below 100 degrees is an invigorating as an arctic blast.”
And here a woman takes a slightly more measured approach to keeping cool.
Here’s a list of 10 swimming holes to cool off at in Texas.
In Boston, kids and adults alike cool off in the fountain on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
- Brian Snyder / Reuters
The city provides a map of places to cool off.
In Alaska, a man wields both an umbrella and an icy treat to keep himself and a child cool.
In the United Kingdom, a guard does his best to ignore the heat. It requires a jaw-clenching effort.
Across the English Channel, Parisians and tourists sit in the shade by the Seine River. One of the best ways to keep cool is to stay out of direct sun.
- Regis Duvignau / Reuters
On July 25, Paris recorded an all-time high temperature – 108.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The Trocadero fountain was opened to the public to keep people cool.
- Samuel Boivin/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Pools like this are vital in Europe since air-conditioning is rare – it’s found in less than 5% of French homes.
In southern France, an art installation called “Umbrella Sky Project” provides visitors with a photo opportunity and lots of cover from the sun.
- Boris Horvat / AFP / Getty
This exhibition, made up of hundreds of umbrellas, has been held in cities and towns across the world since 2011.
Where umbrellas aren’t available, walls become essential. Knowing where the shade begins in Rome can be vital for survival.
European cities get it worse than suburbia and rural areas when it comes to heat waves. They get almost twice as many, due to concrete and asphalt soaking up the day’s heat then releasing it at night.
Elsewhere in the city, fountains provide limited relief. Recently imposed rules now ban people from swimming in them.
- Alberto Pizzoli / AFP / Getty
Since late 2018, it has been illegal to bathe human or animal body parts in well-known fountains, like the lion fountains in Piazza del Popolo. People who break these rules can be made to leave the city for two days.
So tourists need to keep hydrated other ways.
Experts recommended aiming for 10 glasses of water a day during hot weather.
In Spain, these men happily soak up the sun at the beach.
- Jon Nazca / Reuters
By the end of June, two people had died from heat stroke in Spain. One was a 17-year-old boy and the other was an elderly man.
In the Netherlands, a small pool provides some sort of relief.
In July, the Netherlands broke its highest recorded temperature when it reached 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Russia is also melting in the heat. Pictured here are people bathing at a beach in St. Petersburg.
If beaches aren’t preferable, there’s always the Vuoksi River, filled with islands and rapids, which has water that’s meant to be cleaner than the Gulf of Finland.
In Moscow, girls cool off by the fountain in front of Ostankino Tower.
Moscow has more than 500 fountains, and some of them are worth a lot of money – one called The Stone Flower Fountain cost $18.6 million to restore.
This woman is enjoying a fountain in Alexander Garden in Moscow.
Moscow has more than 100 parks within its city limits, which can feel a lot cooler than concrete and asphalt.
Men in the city take the plunge, leaping off a bridge into the cooling waters of a reservoir.
Moscow also has a selection of beaches where swimming is “officially allowed.” Here’s a list of 10 of them.
Like Britain, guards in Russia maintain their positions despite the heat. Here, one soldier wipes the sweat off the brow of another.
While in Siberia, the northern Russian province, 7 million acres of woodland were lost due to wildfires.
At a press conference in July, the head of Russia’s meteorological service said the fires in Siberia were linked to climate change.
In Greenland, a visitor walks along the hillside above icebergs floating in the Ilulissat Icefjord. Summers are getting longer in Greenland and its icecap is retreating at an accelerated pace.
- Sean Gallup / Getty
Eighty-two percent of Greenland is covered by ice, and by July 31, it had hit a record for melting – 56.5% was melted.
Humpback whales swim next to an iceberg in Greenland. The country’s ice sheet was at a record low in 2012, and it looks like it’ll be heading back that way if the heat continues.
- Sean Gallup / Getty
Here, the ice in Greenland is seen melting rapidly.
In 24 hours, 12.5 billion tons of ice melted in Greenland, which would be enough to cover Florida in nearly 5 inches of water.
In Japan, a taxi driver takes a nap in his car to make the most of air conditioning.
In the Shibuya district, in Tokyo, a woman protects herself from the sun with an umbrella.
In 2018, Japan also had a deadly heat wave, when 65 people died from heat-related deaths within one week in July.
Other women in Tokyo use portable fans to try and cool off.
Some of the highest temperatures were recorded in central Japan, where it reached 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit in Gifu Prefecture at the end of July.
People in Japan have been flocking to the beach this summer. It’s one of the few things people near any coast, no matter the country, can rely on.
- Kyodo News / Getty
Here’s a guide to some of Japan’s best beaches.