Heat records shattered globally as Earth warms faster: Reports

July 3, 2023 was declared as the hottest day globally ever recorded, while June 2023 became the hottest month across the planet, with abnormally high temperatures recorded on both land and sea.

By Editorial Team / Jul 7, 2023

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Image Courtesy: Economic Times

July 3, 2023 was declared as the hottest day globally ever recorded, according to climate scientists, based on data from the US government’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The average worldwide temperature on Monday was recorded at 17.01°C, surpassing the all-time high record of 16.92°C, which was reported in August 2016.

According to latest analysis, the global mean temperature on July 3 was about 0.8°C hotter than the average for the time of year during the late 20th Century, a time when global temperatures had already been warmed by human activities.

In fact, global temperature spiked further on July 4, making it unofficially the hottest day. According to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, the earth’s average temperature soared to 17.18°C on Tuesday against 17.01°C on Monday.

Not only this, June 2023 shattered all records and became the hottest June globally, with abnormally high temperatures recorded on both land and sea. According to the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service on June 6 reported that the average temperature in June was 0.5°C above the mean temperature for the same month in 1991-2020. Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest extent for June on record at 17% below average.

There has been a consensus among the world climate scientists over attribution to climate change behind the rise in global temperatures and the building up of oceanic phenomena like El Nino which is contributing to the rise in the mercury. However, this recent spike in climate change extremes has failed to surprise scientists. Experts across the world showed grave concern and warned of the worst days ahead if human-induced global warming continues to go unchecked.

“This is not a milestone we should be celebrating, it's a death sentence for people and ecosystems. And worryingly, it won't be the hottest day for a long time. With El Niño developing, the world will likely break this record again in the coming months. We absolutely need to stop burning fossil fuels,” said Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment.

“The record global temperature was the result of climate change, caused by burning fossil fuels and other human activities, combined with the emerging El Nino weather pattern. It doesn’t stop here and the record may be broken again over the coming weeks,” according to Dr Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, a US non-profit climate research organisation.

Citing similar fear, Karsten Haustein from University of Leipzig cautioned that not only a single day but entire July could set a new record. "Chances are that July will be the warmest ever, and with it the hottest month ever: ‘ever’ meaning since the Eemian which is some 120,000 years ago. While Southern Hemisphere temperatures will drop a bit in the next few days, chances are that July and August will see even warmer days yet given that El Niño is now pretty much in full swing. In terms of absolute positive anomaly, it’s not the warmest deviation ever - that usually comes in the Northern Hemisphere winter, during which Earth is 4 degree colder."

The recent IPCC reports have already reported that the global temperatures have not been as high as they are now for 125,000 years.

Extreme weather around the world

There has been steep surge in the temperatures across the world. As a result of increasing heat stress, extreme weather events have been reported from several parts of the world.

On July 3, Texas and large parts of the southern US witnessed very high temperatures linked with a heat dome. According to the analysis by Climate Central, human-induced climate change made such temperatures at least five times more likely.

Canada is witnessing worst wildfires in its history, with more than 8.4 million hectares already burned. This accounts for an area larger than the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the host of this year’s climate conference. Triggered by extreme temperatures, the smoke of the fires has affected the air quality of large parts of the country and the US.

China is in double whammy as it continues to battle various climate change impacts simultaneously. While long-lasting heatwave continued with temperatures soaring above 35°C, some parts reported major floods. Climate change made the heatwave at least five times more likely, according to rapid assessment by Climate Central. On July 2, the country announced that the first half of 2023 had seen a new record of days with temperatures over 35°C, the highest since 1961, when record keeping began.

Temperatures in North Africa approached 50°C, as a heatwave continued - with climate change again having been a major factor.

Ocean temperatures around the British Isles and the Nordic countries continued to be high, although slightly cooler than in previous weeks, when an extreme marine heatwave had threatened marine life.

The Antarctic region also reported very high temperatures, with many stations recording temperatures on the positive side despite the winter season. The Vernadsky station broke its July temperature record, with 8.7ºC.

In India, an intense heat wave across Uttar Pradesh had led to a number of deaths in Ballia. According to an analysis by Climate Central, the heatwave was made two times more likely due to climate change. With temperatures soaring to nearly 45°C, between June 15 and 20, a total of 80 people admitted to the district’s only hospital have died. While most of the admitted patients had fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, high blood pressure and other symptoms of heat wave-borne diseases, the excessive heat appeared to have exacerbated the condition of those with comorbidities as well. Meanwhile, data from Deoria Medical College, UP, revealed that between June 1 and June 18, 133 people were brought dead to the hospital. As per a report, 14 people lost their lives in Jharkhand between June 17 and 18. In Bihar, local media reported that more than 40 people had died due to heat since May 31, but state officials denied this.

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