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Heat Records Piling Up: Earth Reaches Historically High Temperatures – What Comes Next?

Image that illustrates the rising heat in United States due to climate change | Getty Images

An investigation by Climate Central found that it was likely warmer than any other time in 125,000 years and warmer than any other time in recorded history. Additionally, 2023 is “virtually certain” to be the warmest year on record, according to Copernicus Climate Change.

If any of the announcements listed below seem familiar to you, it’s because cities, states, and nations all across the world are consistently breaking and setting heat-related records month after month and year after year.

According to Andrew Pershing, vice president for science at Climate Central, a nonprofit that covers climate change news, none of this should come as a surprise. We should be prepared to break records since the earth is warming. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is excessive.

Since humanity began recording temperatures, both high and low records have been created. However, in the modern day, warm records are set significantly more frequently than low ones, and in an astounding diversity. When taken as a whole, they offer a startling glimpse at how our lives, jobs, and leisure are being affected by the consistently rising temperatures. Taken separately, they are not necessarily striking.

According to Michael Mann, the author of the recently released book “Our Fragile Moment” and an Earth and environmental science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, all of the warming is “in line with earlier predictions.” “On the other hand, some effects—like extreme weather events—are outperforming expectations.”

Using a technique known as the Climate Shift Index to determine the days of above-normal temperatures that can be connected to climate change, Climate Central announced last week that the worldwide average temperature for November 2022 to October 2023 was 1.32 degrees Celsius over a preindustrial baseline.

Here’s what Climate Central says its findings mean for people:

  • Ninety percent of the world’s population, or 7.3 billion individuals, saw at least ten days with temperatures significantly impacted by climate change throughout the course of the year.
  • 5.8 billion individuals saw temperatures that were more likely due to climate change for more than 30 days.
  • Over the course of the year, at least one five-day heat wave affected an estimated 1.9 billion people.

The European Union’s meteorological and climate agency, Copernicus, also declared:

  • The month of October was the hottest on record.
  • After September 2023, the worldwide temperature was the second highest of the year.
  • With 1.43 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial baseline, the global mean temperature is 1.43 degrees higher this year than it has ever been.

Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed new records:

  • It’s the hottest year on record in four southern states: Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
  • The second warmest year on record has been experienced by six additional states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York.
  • On October 4, Burlington, Vermont, had a record high temperature of 86 degrees.
  • In 2023, there were a record 25 weather-related disasters that cost the country billions of dollars.

Other climate milestones this year

October 16: Sara Kapnick, the head scientist at NOAA, stated that September was the fourth consecutive month of record-warm global temperatures. At 61.9 degrees, the average worldwide surface temperature for September of the 20th century was more than 2.5 degrees higher than it was. It was the 535th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average, according to NOAA, and the largest monthly global temperature anomaly of all time.

October 8: The Antarctic sea ice has achieved a record low for the winter, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

On September 14, NASA and NOAA declared that it was the warmest summer on record on Earth.

September 6: August was the second-warmest month on record, after July 2023, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the Copernicus Climate Change Service. Earth had its hottest June–August period on record.

September 2: According to officials, at least twenty cities, including Miami, Houston, New Orleans, Austin, Texas, and Phoenix, experienced their hottest summer on record.

August 14: According to NOAA, July was “warmer than anything we’d ever seen,” the hottest month on record since at least 1850, and the warmest July on record worldwide in 174 years.

July 18: Phoenix broke a record set in 1974 by experiencing 19 days in a row with temperatures of 110 degrees or over. The July 2023 streak persisted for one entire month.

July 3–6: For four days in a row, the planet breaks the record for daily heat, with a new high of 63 degrees on July 6.

June: According to NOAA, marine heat waves affect over 40% of the world’s seas, the highest number since satellite tracking started in 1991.

May: According to researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and NOAA, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations hit a record high of 424 parts per million. That was the fourth-largest yearly rise on record and is 51% greater than preindustrial levels.

According to NOAA, eight states along the Atlantic coast had record-breaking temperatures during the first four months of the year.

January: 18 billion-dollar disasters are predicted by NOAA for 2022. After 2020 and 2021, it’s the highest since the government began keeping track of the numbers. The ocean’s temperature hit a new record high, making it the third-hottest year in the 128-year record.

Is it too late to do anything about climate change?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says no.

According to experts from Climate Central and Mann, record-breaking occurrences won’t stop until carbon emissions are completely eliminated. However, they stated that after surface warming ceases, extreme weather events should stop growing worse.

“The good news is that temperatures will decrease if fossil fuels are burned,” stated Friederike Otto, one of the scientists co-leading the World Weather Attribution team, which tracks how climate change affects global weather patterns. “And that has immediate ramifications for many extreme weather occurrences. However, naturally, temperatures will rise as long as fossil fuels are burned, making extreme weather events worse.

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