Earth Sets Unofficial Record High Temperature and Sustains It

by Chloe Baker
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climate change

Earth experienced an unofficial record-breaking high temperature this week, which persisted the following day, marking a distressing milestone in a week characterized by extreme weather events driven by climate change.

According to the Climate Reanalyzer at the University of Maine, the average global temperature on Wednesday stood at 17.18 Celsius (62.9 degrees Fahrenheit). This figure matched the record set on Tuesday, following a previous record of 17.01 Celsius (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit) established on Monday. Although these figures are not officially recognized by the government, they provide an indication of the current state of affairs, as stated by Sarah Kapnick, the chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA plans to consider these figures when calculating the official temperature records.

While long-term data is typically used to track the Earth’s warming over months, years, and decades, the recent daily temperature highs offer an unprecedented glimpse into the uncharted territory of climate change.

While some regions experienced colder weather than usual, Quebec and Peru witnessed the shattering of high-temperature records this week.

In North Grenville, Ontario, the local authorities converted ice hockey rinks into cooling centers as temperatures reached 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday, with humidity making it feel like 38 degrees (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Jill Sturdy, a spokesperson for the city, remarked on the tropical-like conditions, saying, “I feel like we live in a tropical country right now. The air is so thick.”

Beijing also faced scorching temperatures, with nine consecutive days exceeding 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and a peak of 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday. In response, all outdoor work was halted.

On Wednesday, approximately 38 million Americans were under various heat alerts, according to Kapnick.

Scientists have been warning for months that 2023 could bring record-breaking heat due to human-caused climate change, primarily driven by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil. They also noted the transition from La Niña, a natural ocean cooling phenomenon that had acted as a counterbalance, to El Niño, a warming oceanic pattern.

Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field, who was not involved in the calculations, emphasized that records like these provide further evidence that global warming is propelling us toward a hotter future.

An exceptionally mild winter in the Antarctic has contributed significantly to this week’s temperature records, according to data from the Climate Reanalyzer. Certain parts of the continent and adjacent ocean were 10-20 degrees Celsius (18-36 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the 1979-2000 averages. Raghu Murtugudde, a professor of atmospheric, oceanic, and earth system science at the University of Maryland, explained that the strong wind fronts over the Southern Ocean were pushing warm air farther south, resulting in unusual temperatures.

Chari Vijayaraghavan, a polar explorer and educator, expressed concern about the obvious impact of global warming on both poles, including threats to wildlife and rising sea levels due to ice melt. She warned of the increasing risk of diseases, such as avian flu, spreading in the Antarctic and causing devastating consequences for penguins and other fauna in the region.

Sean Birkel, the creator of the Climate Reanalyzer at the University of Maine, described the daily figures as unofficial but valuable snapshots of the ongoing changes in a warming world.

Sarah Kapnick highlighted that although the dataset for the unofficial record only goes back to 1979, considering other data, it is likely that the world is currently experiencing the hottest days in “several hundred years.”

The frequency and intensity of heatwaves continue to disrupt life globallyand pose life-threatening conditions. Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, the regional director for Europe at the World Health Organization, emphasized that climate change is significantly impacting the continent, potentially undoing 50 years of progress in public health.

In June, large parts of India and Pakistan endured a prolonged heatwave that claimed over 100 lives in the two countries. The temperatures have subsided in recent weeks with the arrival of monsoon rains.

Note: This rewrite aims to convey the same information as the original text while providing a fresh perspective and improved readability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about climate change

What was the average global temperature recorded on Wednesday?

The average global temperature recorded on Wednesday was 17.18 Celsius (62.9 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer.

Were the temperature records set during this week officially recognized?

No, the temperature records mentioned in the text are unofficial. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will consider these figures when calculating the official temperature records.

What factors contribute to the increase in global temperatures?

The increase in global temperatures is primarily attributed to human-caused climate change, driven by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil. Additionally, the transition from La Niña to El Niño, a natural oceanic pattern, is also playing a role.

Which regions experienced extreme high temperatures?

Quebec, Peru, North Grenville in Ontario, and Beijing were among the regions that experienced extreme high temperatures during this week.

How does the warming climate impact public health?

The warming climate poses a significant threat to public health. Extreme heatwaves, as a result of climate change, disrupt daily life and can have life-threatening consequences. The World Health Organization warns that climate change can potentially reverse decades of progress in public health.

What role does the Antarctic play in the temperature records?

Unusually mild winter temperatures in the Antarctic significantly contributed to the temperature records. Parts of the continent and nearby ocean were much warmer than average, influenced by strong wind fronts pushing warm air southwards.

What are the potential consequences of global warming on the polar regions?

Global warming has visible impacts on the polar regions, including threats to wildlife and rising sea levels due to ice melt. There is also an increased risk of diseases spreading, such as avian flu in the Antarctic, which can have devastating consequences for the region’s fauna.

Are the temperature records indicative of a long-term trend?

While the daily temperature records provide a snapshot of the ongoing changes, long-term data over months, years, and decades is used to track the Earth’s warming. However, considering other data, scientists suggest that the world is likely experiencing the hottest days in several hundred years.

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