Global Average Temperature Reaches Record High, Surpassing 17 Degrees Celsius for the First Time
The world’s average temperature soared to unprecedented levels on Monday, July 3, surpassing 17 degrees Celsius for the first time in history. Scientists have determined that this reading represents the highest recorded temperature in instrumental records dating back to the late 19th century.
The remarkable heatwave is attributed to a combination of the El Niño weather phenomenon and the continuous emission of carbon dioxide, primarily caused by human activities. Researchers anticipate that more temperature records will be shattered in the coming months as El Niño strengthens its impact.
Throughout this year, scientists have grown increasingly alarmed by the rapid rise in temperatures on both land and in the oceans. Spain and numerous countries in Asia experienced record-breaking spring heat, followed by unexpected marine heatwaves in regions not accustomed to such phenomena, including the North Sea.
China has been grappling with an enduring heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius in some areas, while the southern United States has also been subjected to oppressive conditions.
According to the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction, the global average temperature on July 3 reached 17.01 degrees Celsius, surpassing the previous record of 16.92 degrees Celsius set in August 2016. This milestone also represents the warmest temperature recorded since satellite monitoring began in 1979 and is believed to be the highest since the start of widespread instrumental records in the late 19th century.
The combination of the naturally occurring El Niño event and human-induced carbon dioxide emissions is considered responsible for this new global temperature record. El Niño, scientifically known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), is a powerful climate system fluctuation with three phases: hot, cold, and neutral. Currently, scientists have declared the presence of El Niño conditions, which entails an increased transfer of heat to the Pacific Ocean’s surface, consequently driving up global temperatures.
Climate researcher Leon Simons described the global average surface air temperature reaching 17 degrees Celsius as a significant symbolic milestone in the context of our warming world. Simons also stated that with the onset of the warmer phase of El Niño, numerous daily, monthly, and annual temperature records are expected to be broken within the next 1.5 years.
The record-breaking global temperature on Monday occurred simultaneously with the confirmation that June 2023 was the hottest June ever recorded globally. Average temperatures across the planet were found to be 1.46 degrees Celsius above the average during the period from 1850 to 1900.
The impact of high temperatures is not limited to the global average but extends to extreme locations as well. In Antarctica, the July temperature record was recently broken, with a reading of 8.7 degrees Celsius registered at Ukraine’s Vernadsky Research base.
With El Niño projected to intensify in the coming months, experts anticipate that more temperature records will be shattered as the northern hemisphere summer progresses. Karsten Haustein, a researcher from the University of Leipzig, expressed the likelihood of July becoming the warmest month ever recorded since the Eemian, approximately 120,000 years ago. Haustein noted that although temperatures in the southern hemisphere might experience a temporary decrease, the ongoing El Niño conditions indicate that July and August may witness even hotter days.
As the world grapples with the escalating consequences of rising temperatures, this new record underscores the urgent need for immediate and comprehensive action to combat climate change and mitigate its far-reaching impacts.