The UN secretary general has issued a stark warning, declaring that “climate change is spiraling out of control.” Unofficial analysis of data reveals that the average global temperatures during the past seven days were the highest ever recorded.
António Guterres emphasized the urgent need for decisive actions, highlighting the recent temperature records broken on Monday and Tuesday.
According to the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), Tuesday’s global air temperature averaged 17.18°C (62.9°F), surpassing the previous record of 17.01°C reached just a day prior.
According to data from the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, the average temperature for the seven-day period ending Wednesday surpassed any week recorded in the past 44 years.
The Earth’s average temperature on Wednesday remained at the record high of 17.18°C. Climate Reanalyzer utilizes a combination of surface, air balloon, and satellite observations to generate a time series of daily mean two-metre air temperature.
While the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) considers its own figures the gold standard in climate data, it was unable to validate the unofficial numbers presented by the reanalyzer.
The NOAA pointed out that model output data, used by the reanalyzer, is not a suitable substitute for actual temperatures and climate records. The NOAA primarily monitors global temperatures on a monthly and annual basis rather than daily.
Scientists unanimously agree that these findings signal uncharted territory for climate change, with the combined impact of anthropogenic global heating and the return of El Niño expected to result in more record-breaking temperatures.
The United Nations confirmed the reemergence of El Niño, an intermittent weather pattern, on Tuesday. The last major El Niño event occurred in 2016, which still stands as the hottest year on record.
“Chances are that the month of July will be the warmest ever, and with it the hottest month ever … ‘ever’ meaning since the Eemian [interglacial period], which is indeed some 120,000 years ago,” Dr Karsten Haustein, a research fellow in atmospheric radiation at Leipzig University, said.
Heatwaves have been plaguing various regions worldwide, leading the EU’s climate monitoring service to declare June as the hottest on record.
The southern United States has been battling scorching temperatures under a persistent heat dome, even on the 4th of July.
China has also been enduring a prolonged heatwave, with temperatures surpassing 35°C (95°F). Notably, one significant factor contributing to the recent heat records is an unusually mild winter in the Antarctic.
Portions of the continent and its adjacent ocean witnessed temperatures 10-20°C (18-36°F) higher than the averages recorded between 1979 and 2000.
“Temperatures have been unusual over the ocean and especially around the Antarctic this week, because wind fronts over the Southern Ocean are strong pushing warm air deeper south,” said Raghu Murtugudde, professor of atmospheric, oceanic and earth system science at the University of Maryland and visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.
Chari Vijayaraghavan, a polar explorer and dedicated educator, has been actively visiting the Arctic and Antarctic for the past decade. Based on her extensive experiences, she asserts that the effects of global warming are evident in both polar regions.
Not only does this pose a threat to the wildlife inhabiting these areas, but it also accelerates the melting of ice, subsequently leading to rising sea levels. The impact of climate change on these delicate ecosystems is a pressing concern that requires attention and action.
“Warming climates might lead to increasing risks of diseases such as the avian flu spreading in the Antarctic that will have devastating consequences for penguins and other fauna in the region,” Vijayaraghavan said.