Updated Jul 5, 2023, 8:43am EDT
net zero

Takeaways: This week has seen the two hottest days ever recorded

A woman walks with an umbrella during high temperatures in the Anapra neighbourhood in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico June 15, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

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The News

Tuesday was the hottest day ever since global record keeping began in 1979, breaking just the previous day’s record high.

The global surface temperature hit 17.18 degrees Celsius (62.92 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, up from 17.01 degrees Celsius (62.61 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to data collected by the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The previous record, of 16.92 degrees Celsius, was set in 2016.

We’ve rounded up insight on why we could see more record-breaking warmer days ahead.

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  • Robert Rohde, a scientist with Berkeley Earth, noted that the combination of El Niño — a climate pattern referring to the unusual warming of the surface temperature of the eastern Pacific Ocean — and global warming might well lead to even hotter days over the next six weeks. Data sets that let researchers go back further than 1979 suggest that July 3 “was warmer than any point since instrumental measurements began, and probably for a long time before that as well,” Rohde tweeted.
  • When the last major El Niño event occurred in 2016, the world recorded its hottest year ever. The phenomenon also triggers extreme flooding and droughts. — The Guardian
  • In the U.K., June was the hottest month in recorded history. The average temperature last month was 15.8 degrees Celsius (60.4 degrees Fahrenheit), an increase of nearly one degree Celsius over the previous joint record of the highest average June temperature in 1940 and 1976. — BBC
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Know More

While announcing the onset of El Niño, World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the weather pattern “will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records and triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean.”

Parts of the U.S., Mexico, and the Middle East have been gripped by extreme temperatures for weeks.

Hundreds of Muslims completing the Hajj pilgrimage were killed by soaring temperatures, and thousands were treated for heat stress. In the southern U.S., the heat has killed dozens and added extra stress to Texas’s power grid, which is struggling under air conditioning demand.