On Monday, we reported that the Earth’s average temperature had reached a record high, making it the hottest day since measurements began. But that’s now old news having been beaten on Tuesday, and again on Wednesday, as temperatures soared to an average of 17.18°C (62.9°F).
These record conditions were reached on Tuesday, July 4, and sustained on July 5, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, which provides global average temperatures for every day of the last 44 years.
Prior to Monday, when the global average temperature reached 17.01°C (62.62°F), the previous record – 16.92°C (62.46°F) – was set in August 2016 and equaled last year.
Per AP News, Tuesday’s high was almost 1°C (1.8°F) higher than the 1979-2000 average, which itself topped the 19th- and 20th-century averages.
The figures are not an official record but use data from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s climate forecast system to estimate the temperature 2 meters (6.6 feet) off the ground based on satellite, air balloon, and ground-based weather station measurements.
“This is showing us an indication of where we are right now,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chief scientist Sarah Kapnick told AP, indicating that NOAA will take these latest figures into consideration for its official calculations.
Various parts of the world have been experiencing extreme heat of late, including the southern US, China, and North Africa, where temperatures have reached 50°C (122°F), Reuters reports. Even Antarctica, which is currently in its winter, has recorded abnormally high temperatures.
“Chances are that the month of July will be the warmest ever, and with it the hottest month ever … ‘ever’ meaning since the Eemian, which is indeed some 120,000 years ago,” Dr Karsten Haustein, a research fellow in atmospheric radiation at Leipzig University, told The Guardian.
2023 has already seen several other devastating climate records, including all-time high greenhouse gas emissions and record-low Antarctic sea ice levels. And scientists have been warning for months that La Niña, the cooling phase of the oceans, was giving way to El Niño, the warming phase. On Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that El Niño had indeed returned, which could lead to yet more record-breaking temperatures.
“When’s the hottest day likely to be? It’s going to be when global warming, El Niño, and the annual cycle all line up together. Which is the next couple months,” Myles Allen, a professor of geosystem science at Oxford University, told The Washington Post. “It’s a triple whammy.”
“Looking to the future, we can expect global warming to continue and hence temperature records to be broken increasingly frequently, unless we rapidly act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero,” added Paulo Ceppi, a climate scientist at London’s Grantham Institute.