Even if there are still a few more sweat-inducing days, scientists predict that July will end up being the warmest on record for the entire world and maybe the warmest period in human history.
On Thursday, the World Meteorological Organization and the Copernicus Climate Change Service of the European Union declared that the heat of July had broken all previous records.
According to them, the Earth’s temperature has been momentarily exceeding a critical warming threshold, with the objective of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Paris climate agreement intends to maintain the average global temperature at 1.5 degrees for the next 20 or 30 years, despite the fact that temperatures were 1.5 degrees warmer than pre-industrial periods for a record 16 days this month.
It has previously happened for a few days to momentarily exceed that threshold, but never in July.
Researchers predicted a record-breaking July due to the extreme heat that has scorched three continents (North America, Europe, and Asia).
The heat wave that has been sweeping the U.S. Southwest for the past month is showing no signs of abating, as it moved into most of the Midwest and East by the end of the week and put more than 128 million Americans under a heat advisory on Thursday.
According to Copernicus Director Carlo Buontempo, “unless an ice age were to suddenly appear out of thin air, it is basically virtually certain that we will break the record for the warmest July on record and the warmest month on record.”
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, cited the estimates and urged world leaders to take additional measures to lower emissions of gases that trap heat.
The climate is changing. It is terrible. And it’s only the beginning, said Guterres told reporters during a briefing in New York. Global boiling has begun; the period of global warming has come to an end.
According to Buontempo and other scientists, the records are the result of both natural and human-caused climate change, together with an El Nino that warms some areas of the central Pacific and affects weather all across the world.
However, Buontempo claimed that even more is at play because ocean warming in the Atlantic has also been so extreme while being far from El Nino. He said he was astonished by the rise in ocean temperatures and the record-breaking loss of sea ice in Antarctica, even though scientists have long projected that the Earth would continue to warm and see periods of extreme weather.
According to Copernicus’ calculations, the average temperature on Earth during the first 23 days of July was 16.95 degrees Celsius (62.5 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s about 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit (almost 0.3 degrees Celsius) hotter than the previous record-setting month for heat, July 2019. According to Russell Vose, director of the U.S. climate analysis group, records are usually beaten by tenths of a degree Celsius at most.
Organization for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Records are often calculated a week or more after a month’s end.
The Copernicus estimates make sense, according to Vose, who wasn’t involved in the study, his NASA record-keeping colleague Gavin Schmidt, and six other outside scientists.
Twenty-one of the first 23 days of July were the hottest days ever recorded, according to Buontempo’s team.