Californians sweltering in the first heat wave of the season: they’re not alone.
Researchers announced this week that Monday may have been the hottest day on record on Earth, a record that lasted for an entire day.
While scientists still need to verify the global average temperature figures to officially cement this week’s sweltering milestones, experts say the data reflects the ongoing effects of climate change and may not be the latest records set this year given the return of The boy.
The global average daily temperature on Monday was 62.6 degrees, the highest since modern records began more than four decades ago, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer project. The average temperature Tuesday was even higher, at 62.9 degrees, the data shows.
The previous record captured by the project, 62.46 degrees, was set in 2016.
Monday’s record was “driven by the combination of El Niño plus global warming,” according to Robert Rohde, senior scientist at Berkeley Earth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental data science.
“We may see some even warmer days over the next six weeks,” he said. wrote on Twitter.
The Climate Reanalyzer data comes from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration computer simulation that extracts information from satellite images used for weather forecasts.
The global records likely set on Monday and Tuesday are preliminary. Over the next few weeks, the researchers will be analyzing the data to verify temperatures based on NOAA guidelines.
Rohde noted that the Climate Reanalyzer data only goes back to 1979. But, he added, “other data sets allow us to look further back and conclude that this day was warmer than any point since instrumental measurements began, and probably for long before. that too.”
“Global warming is taking us into an unknown world,” he said.
The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, which uses a different model for temperature analysis, announced that its preliminary data for Monday they also broke records.
While an average of 62.9 degrees doesn’t sound particularly warm, the researchers note that some parts of the world are in the dead of winter. Antarctic sea ice at the end of June was nearly a million square miles below average for this time of year, compared with data from 1981 to 2010, according to a recent NOAA report. That’s almost four times the size of Texas.
In California, high pressure brought hot conditions to mountains, deserts, and inland valleys during the first half of this week. Significant cooling was expected on Thursday, but temperatures are expected to rise again next week, forecasters say.
Large swaths of China and other Asia Pacific countries are being suffocated by an oppressive heat wave that has lasted for more than a week, according to news reports. Meanwhile, eastern Canada is in the grip of a searing heat wave and wildfires that have scorched more than 20 million acres and blanketed parts of the Midwest and East Coast in smoke.
Mercury has also skyrocketed in the US. This July 4th was the hottest on record in Tampa, Florida, with temperatures reaching 97 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
Phoenix is seeing slightly above normal temperatures, even by your typical grilling standards. Forecasts show temperatures to stay above 110 degrees into next week, said meteorologist Gabriel Lojero with the local forecast office of the National Weather Service.
“This is typical for this time of year. Usually we get 110 degrees for the region. The average is 107 for this time of year. We are seeing temperatures slightly above normal,” Lujero said Wednesday.
Deadly heat waves fueled by climate change are becoming more common in parts of the US, experts say.
For the first time in several years, El Niño conditions have formed in the tropical Pacific, bringing with them “a likely increase in global temperatures and disruptive weather and climate patterns,” according to the World Meteorological Organization.
“The occurrence of El Niño will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records and causing more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
Along with warmer ocean waters, El Niño can mean increased precipitation in some parts of the world. In the United States, the influence of the weather pattern is usually weakest during the summer and most pronounced from late fall to early spring. Drier conditions are possible in parts of the northern US and Canada, with wetter weather further south, according to NOAA.
Taalas warned that the arrival of El Niño should be a signal for governments around the world to prepare for extreme weather. El Niño occurs every two to seven years and can last between nine months and a year, according to the WMO.
The agency recently predicted that there is a 98% chance that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record.
“Early warnings and anticipatory action for extreme weather events associated with this major climate event are vital to saving lives and livelihoods,” Taalas said.
Staff writer Hayley Smith contributed to this report.