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Earth records hottest day– third day running

ByJayashree Nandi
Jul 06, 2023 08:15 PM IST

On Wednesday, the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, which uses data from the United States National Centers for Environmental Prediction, indicated that the global average air temperature was the highest ever at recorded – 17.01°C– on June 3 based on various datasets they analysed

Monday marked a grim milestone for Earth – it was, on average, the hottest day ever recorded, however, the record lasted only for a day as it was broken again on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday, underscoring the incredible pace at which the human-induced climate crisis is spreading over the planet.

 (File Photo)
(File Photo)

Since June 5, the global average air temperature has been mostly above the average recorded since 1979, when satellite record-keeping started. On July 3, 4 and 5, it may have been on uncharted territory.

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On Wednesday, the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, which uses data from the United States National Centers for Environmental Prediction, indicated that the global average air temperature was the highest ever at recorded – 17.01°C– on July 3 based on various data sets they analysed.

Also Read: World registers hottest day ever recorded on July 3

But on July 4, the record was broken again taking it to 17.18°C, around 0.98°C above the mean for 1979 to 2000.

Incidentally, after Tuesday’s record was broken, Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in climate science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment had predicted that the record may not stand for long. “This is not a milestone we should be celebrating, it’s a death sentence for people and ecosystems. And worryingly, it won’t be the hottest day for a long time. With El Niño developing, the world will likely break this record again in the coming months. We absolutely need to stop burning fossil fuels,” she said.

Scientists, however, warn that the coming few weeks would likely be even hotter. “So it is likely still that we may see this record broken again this summer, maybe even multiple times,” they said.

Copernicus Programme of the EU said on Thursday that this June was the warmest globally at over 0.5°C above the 1991-2020 average, exceeding June 2019 – the previous record – by a substantial margin. Record June temperatures were experienced across northwest Europe. Parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Asia, and eastern Australia were significantly warmer than normal. Exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures were recorded in the North Atlantic; extreme marine heatwaves were observed around Ireland, the UK and in the Baltic Sea while El Niño continued to strengthen over the tropical eastern Pacific.

Copernicus programme of the EU said on June 15 that the 1.5°C threshold had been crossed during the first 11 days of the month. “This has been the first time that global surface air temperatures have exceeded the pre-industrial level by more than 1.5°C during the month of June. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) monitors how often daily global temperatures have exceeded this limit, given that it is a good indicator of how fast we are approaching the 1.5°C threshold set in the Paris Agreement,” it said.

Despite being the first time, the limit has been surpassed in June, this is not the first time that the daily global average temperature rise has been above the 1.5°C level. This threshold was first exceeded in December 2015 and exceeded repeatedly in the winters and springs of 2016 and 2020. But July could surpass all records especially with July 3 to 5 being the hottest days ever.

“This is driven by the combination of El Niño on top of global warming, and we may well see a few even warmer days over the next six weeks,” said Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, a US-based non-profit organization focused on environmental data science and analysis.

“Though NCEP CFSR only begins in 1979, other data sets let us look further back and conclude that this day (June 3) was warmer than any point since instrumental measurements began, and probably for a long time before that as well. Global warming is leading us into an unfamiliar world,” he added.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has air temperature records since 1880.

Several climate scientists are in agreement that global warming and the onset of El Nino conditions are now interacting, which is why the world should prepare for more records. The triple dip La Nina which began in 2020 and ended in early 2023 had moderated the impact of global warming to an extent which has now waned. La Nina has a cooling influence even though record-breaking heat spells were recorded globally including in India during the recent La Nina period.

Also Read: ‘It’s officially’ UK’s hottest June ever since records began in 1884

La Niña appears when easterly trade winds intensify the upwelling of cooler water from the depths of the eastern tropical Pacific, causing a large-scale cooling of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean surface near the Equator according to NOAA. Whereas, El Nino is characterised by an unusual warming of waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific, which has a high correlation with warmer summers globally and weaker monsoon rains in India. WMO has forecast that there is a 90% probability of the El Niño event continuing during the second half of 2023. It is expected to be at least of moderate strength.

“The recent La Nina conditions in the Pacific – until the start of this year – were dampening the global temperatures to a large extent. Now it has come to an end and an El Nino is in place. El Nino exposes the deeper ocean heat to the atmosphere. Oceans absorb more than 93% of the additional heat from global warming. This climate change signal is now coming out loud and clear with El Nino. The high temperatures that we are already seeing is a warning that we will temporarily cross 1.5°C in global temperature change this year and forever by 2040,” said Roxy Mathew Koll, climate scientist at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

On Wednesday, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warned that the July, August, and September season this year is expected to be unusually warm for both the northern and the southern hemisphere. WMO’s projection maps indicated India’s east and west coasts are likely to experience very high temperatures.

“In my opinion, first of all, global warming is taking place at an accelerated pace. El Niño adds more warning to the ongoing trend. El Nino is peaking up much faster than the model predictions. Why? We cannot say immediately but it could be linked to some oceanic processes and the global warming pace adding to it. Global warming and El Niño could be acting interactively and inclusively,” said M Rajeevan, former secretary, ministry of earth sciences.

HT had reported on April 19 that Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) around the world are at their highest levels in recorded history this April and extremely high SSTs over the Indian Ocean, particularly the South Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal are currently contributing to record SSTs globally.

On April 5, the global average SST was 21.1 °C, a new record according to data released by the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine. It hasn’t cooled much since. On July 3, it was 20.9°C, far higher than data available since 1981.

“The global air temperature warming, ocean warming especially, North Atlantic Ocean warming and associated marine heat waves, anomalous low sea ice condition in the southern ocean or Antarctic sea ice condition are some of the anomalous events are happening this year, which are interrelated. It may be due to climate change in the long term, and El Niño conditions in the short term, especially after three consecutive La Niño, are causing anomalous weaker winds and hence the higher-than-normal air temperature. But there may be other global factors which we need to now analyse and understand,” said M Ravichandran, secretary, ministry of earth sciences.

On July 3, Texas and large parts of the southern US were hit by very high temperatures linked with a heat dome. Wildfires in Canada this year are likely to be the worst in Canadian history, with more than 8.4 million hectares burned according to media reports.

In China, a long-lasting heatwave is continuing, with temperatures above 35°C, and major flooding hitting parts of the country. Large parts of eastern India saw a prolonged heatwave in June when experienced temperatures were high enough to be life-threatening, experts say.

Parts of Bihar and West Bengal experienced continuous heatwaves for 19 and 17 days, respectively, in June, according to the India Meteorological Department. Bihar recorded a heat index of 50°C to 60°C during this period. West Bengal would have seen similar values on the heat index as meteorological factors in both places such as delayed monsoon and high humidity were similar.

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