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July heat wave

July is shaping up to be the hottest month since… well, since almost forever. Photo: Unsplash

The Inertia

According to reports, July will officially be the hottest month ever recorded since we’ve been keeping decent track of it for the last 174 years. The previous record was set just four years ago in 2019.

The analysis, which was done by Germany’s Leipzig University, concluded that, “It’s certain at this point already that we are in absolutely new record territory.”

Climate scientists looking at the data found that July had 23 consecutive days of record global temperatures. That means we’re on track to be a little more than 0.2 C warmer than July, 2019 and about 1.5 C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level. Those are the years where we began burning coal, oil, and gas in earnest.

In regular years — which are becoming less and less frequent — the global mean temperature is about 16 C (61 F). This year, however, the global mean temperature has been almost 17 C (62.6 F). While that may not sound like much, when taking into consideration the fact that that’s the global average… well, it’s a little frightening.

“We are very much experiencing the reality of decades of predictions from scientists warning that temperatures are rapidly rising due to human-caused climate change,” Zachary Labe, a climate scientist at Princeton University, told the CBC.

As our planet warms, extreme weather events that lead to climate-related disasters will very likely increase. Already, heat waves are hammering the globe. Europe, North America, and China are being baked by unrelenting heatwaves. A bay in the Florida Keys registered water temperatures about the same as the average person’s hot tub.

“The impacts and consequences are being felt by communities and ecosystems around the world, especially for the most vulnerable. Without a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gasses, the heat and subsequent risks will unfortunately continue to amplify,” Labe continued.

Researchers who have used things like ice cores and tree rings to figure out what the climate was like long before we were around to mess it all up believe that the last time the planet was this warm was somewhere around 120,000 years ago.

Although it is almost a sure thing that July will be the hottest month, we’re not quite through it yet. “We don’t have to wait for the end of the month to know this,” said U.N. Secretary-general António Guterres. “Short of a mini-Ice Age over the next few days, July 2023 will shatter records across the board.”

The UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) acknowledged that, and as such are waiting until August to officially back the report.

“July is almost certainly the hottest month in the instrumental record,” said Piers Forster, a climate scientist at Leeds University in Britain. “The result is confirmed by several independent datasets combining measurements in the ocean and over land. It is statistically robust.”

In a particularly frightening statement, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres had this to say: “The era of global warming has ended. The era of global boiling has arrived. Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning.”


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