HomeHealthScorching July is on track to be the hottest month on record

Scorching July is on track to be the hottest month on record

Scientists from the United Nations and the European Union announced Thursday that the first three weeks of July were the three hottest weeks on record and that the month would almost certainly be the warmest on record.

“Unless an ice age suddenly occurs out of nowhere, it is almost certain that we will break the record for the warmest July on record and the warmest month on record,” said Carlo Buentempo, director of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. , which worked with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), told the Associated Press.

“The era of global warming is over; The era of global boiling has begun,” said the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a concise summary of the findings at a press conference.

“Many scientists – including those at Copernicus – say it is almost certain that these temperatures are the warmest the planet has seen in 120,000 years, given what we know from millennia of climate data,” CNN reported.

Prolonged heat wave

Tom Comitta holds two signs, one of which reads Happy Death Day, while the thermometer registers 131 degrees Fahrenheit, the equivalent of 55 degrees Celsius.

An activist organizes a protest in Death Valley National Park on July 16 at the thermometer at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

About 150 million Americans are under heat warnings this week, as the months-long heat wave plaguing the Southwest and Florida has recently spread to the Midwest and Northeast. In Washington, DC, the heat index, which combines heat and humidity, is expected to reach 104°F on Thursday and 107°F on Friday.

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In El Paso, Texas, temperatures have topped 100°F for 41 consecutive days. Phoenix surpassed 110°F for 26 consecutive days, setting a new national record. Pavement temperatures can reach 170 degrees Celsius in those conditions, and burn patients who fell on the sidewalk or touched a doorknob are filling burn units in Las Vegas, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Such extremes have also been observed worldwide for much of the summer. Last month was by far the warmest June ever recorded worldwide. On July 6, a new record was set for the highest average temperature on Earth, when it surpassed the previous record set in August 2016. Every day since July 3 has been the hottest day on that date.

Dangers abound

Firefighters in nitrile gloves measure the body temperature of a resident in shorts.Firefighters in nitrile gloves measure the body temperature of a resident in shorts.

Firefighters in Phoenix measure the body temperature of a resident who was having trouble breathing on July 20. (Caitlin O’Hara/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Emergency room doctors in cities experiencing extreme heat waves say they are seeing a sharp increase in patients with heat-related conditions. Extreme heat also increases the risk of potentially fatal cardiovascular problems such as heart failure.

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“This is the worst summer in recent memory,” Frank LoVecchio, an emergency room doctor at a Phoenix hospital, recently told NBC News.

Extreme heat is also a challenge as power grids try to keep up with increased demand for air conditioning. The 13-state grid operator in the eastern US, PJM Interconnection LLC, which covers from Washington, DC to Illinois, issued an Energy Emergency Alert Level 1 on Thursday, meaning that “it is concerned about being able to maintain sufficient power reserves,” according to Bloomberg. News.

Although Thursday’s announcement focused on air temperatures, the oceans have also been affected. A buoy in Manatee Bay, Florida, recently recorded the hottest water temperature in world history: a Jacuzzi-like 101.1°F.

What causes the temperature spike

Cris drinks a bottle of water near her campsite, with a wet microfiber cloth draped over her head.Cris drinks a bottle of water near her campsite, with a wet microfiber cloth draped over her head.

A person drinks water near her campsite during a heat wave in Salem, Oregon, on August 12, 2021. (Alisha Jucevic/Reuters)

Scientists say the cause of this extreme heat is climate change, caused by the continued burning of fossil fuels.

“The extreme weather that affected many millions of people in July is unfortunately a harsh reality of climate change and a foretaste of the future,” Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the WMO, said in a statement. “The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever before.”

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Like 2016, 2023 is a year with an El Niño weather pattern, a band of warm ocean water that causes temperatures to rise. But scientists note that the reason recent El Niño years have been the hottest on record is that base temperatures have been steadily rising, thanks to an increase in emissions.

“Years with El Niño events tend to be warmer than other years, but the inexorable rise in temperatures due to climate change adds a permanent El Niño value of heat to Earth’s atmosphere every five to 10 years,” says Zeke Hausfather, a researcher. scientist at Berkeley Earth, said in a statement.

A separate study released Tuesday by the research organization World Weather Attribution found that July’s extreme heat waves would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change. The study found that global warming has made the current heatwave in southern Europe, which has sparked raging forest fires, 2.5°C hotter.

World leaders respond

President Biden, flanked by Deanne Criswell and Rich Spinrad, speaks under a banner that reads: Combating the Climate.President Biden, flanked by Deanne Criswell and Rich Spinrad, speaks under a banner that reads: Combating the Climate.

President Biden, along with Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Rick Spinrad, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, announced new measures Thursday to deal with extreme weather. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

On Thursday, Guterres called on leaders of the largest economies to set more ambitious new targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, a sentiment echoed by climate scientists.

Later in the day, President Biden announced a new set of measures to address extreme heat, including directing the Labor Department to strengthen inspections of potentially hazardous workplaces and increase enforcement of heat safety violations.

“I don’t think anyone can deny the impact of climate change anymore,” Biden said.

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