My brother works in Moscow and has been complaining of the extreme heat and smog. Now I’ve read today’s BBC report I understand why.

Apparently the concentration of carbon monoxide in Moscow is still more than double acceptable safety norms as smog from peat and forest wildfires continues to blanket the city amid an ongoing heat wave.

Temperatures of more than 35C (95F) are forecast for the Russian capital until Thursday.

As reported by the BBC, Moscow’s health chief Andrei Seltsovsky today confirmed to reporters that the mortality rate has doubled as the heat wave and wildfire smog continue.

Mr Seltsovsky did not attribute the rise in the mortality rate to either the heat wave or smog, however.

Over at Wunderblog, Dr. Jeff Masters observes that the number of deaths in Moscow in July 2010 was about 5,000 more than in July 2009, suggesting that the heat wave has been responsible for thousands of deaths in Moscow alone.

Dr. Masters says:

I would expect that by the time the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 is over, the number of premature deaths caused by the heat wave will approach or exceed the 40,000 who died in the 2003 European Heat Wave.”