The Upcoming Heatwave: Record-Breaking Temperatures on the Horizon

Introduction

Experts are warning that the hottest days of the year are yet to come, as global temperatures continue to smash records for the second consecutive day. According to data compiled by the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), the average global air temperature on Tuesday reached 17.18°C (62.9°F), surpassing the previous day’s record of 17.01°C. These scorching temperatures have surpassed the previous hottest day on record in 2016 during the last El Niño weather phenomenon, when the global average temperature reached 16.92°C. With El Niño making a comeback and anthropogenic global heating intensifying, experts predict that more record-breaking temperatures are on the horizon.

The Return of El Niño

The World Meteorological Organization, the UN’s weather body, has confirmed the return of El Niño. Scientists warn that, coupled with the increased heat from anthropogenic global heating, this weather pattern will result in more extreme temperatures. Dr. Paulo Ceppi, a climate science lecturer at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute, suggests that the record-breaking trend might continue in the coming days or weeks. Dr. Karsten Haustein, a research fellow in atmospheric radiation at Leipzig University, adds that although there may be a slight downturn in the next few days, the annual global temperature maximum occurs at the end of July, indicating that more days will likely be even hotter. Dr. Haustein expresses confidence that July might become the warmest month ever recorded, dating back to the Eemian period approximately 120,000 years ago.

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Heatwaves Across the Globe

Heatwaves have been sweeping various parts of the world. The UK experienced its hottest June on record, according to the Met Office. In the southern US, an intense heat dome has caused scorching temperatures, including on the national holiday on July 4th. China continues to face a persistent heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 35°C. North Africa has witnessed temperatures nearing 50°C, while in the Middle East, thousands of people performing the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia have endured unusually sweltering heat. Even Antarctica, currently in the midst of winter, has seen abnormally high temperatures. Ukraine’s Vernadsky research base in the Argentine Islands broke its July temperature record with a reading of 8.7°C.

The Impact of Rising Temperatures

Experts underscore the connection between these record-breaking temperatures and human-caused climate change. Ilan Kelman, a professor of disasters and health at University College London’s Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, highlights the dangers associated with worsening heatwaves, including extreme humidity. Kelman predicts a significant increase in heat-related deaths, particularly among those who lack access to indoor cooling or are required to work outside. He warns that heat and humidity can silently become lethal, as people often underestimate the number of individuals struggling to cope with these conditions, especially when nighttime temperatures fail to provide relief.

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