July 3 Sets New Global Heat Record; El Niño And CO₂ Levels Fuel Extreme Weather


July 3 made history as the hottest day ever recorded worldwide, surpassing the previous record set in August 2016. According to data from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction, the average global temperature on July 3 exceeded 17 °C, surpassing the previous record of 16.92 °C.

Concerns about escalating temperatures on both land and in the oceans have been mounting since the start of this year. Springtime witnessed unprecedented heatwaves in Spain and several Asian countries, while regions such as the North Sea experienced unusual surges in temperature.

The southern US has been suffering under an intense heat dome in recent weeks. In China, an enduring heatwave continued, with temperatures above 35 °C (95F). North Africa has seen temperatures near 50 °C (122F). Even Antarctica, currently in its winter, registered anomalously high temperatures. Ukraine’s Vernadsky Research Base in the white continent’s Argentine Islands recently broke its July temperature record with 8.7°C (47.6F). 

2 Factors

Scientists have identified two primary factors contributing to this extreme heat: El Niño and the escalating levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. However, human activities are also significantly responsible for the rising temperatures. The combustion of fossil fuels alone releases a staggering 40 billion tons of CO2 annually. Moreover, the trend continued into June, which became the hottest June ever documented across the globe.

The World Meteorological Organization’s secretary-general, Petteri Taalas, said in a statement about the onset of El Niño: “The onset of El Niño will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records.”

Death Sentence for people & Ecosystems

Climate scientist Friederike Otto of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Britain’s Imperial College London commented, “It’s a death sentence for people and ecosystems.”

He emphasized the gravity of the situation, cautioning against any celebration of this alarming milestone. Instead, he likens it to a dire sentence for the ecosystem, underscoring the urgent need for action. Otto further warns that if the current trajectory continues, this record will likely be surpassed in the near future.

Rise by 1.5 °C in the near future

A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in March said that global temperatures are likely to rise by 1.5 °C in the near future. The report also stated that global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 60% below 2019 levels by 2035.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has earlier urged countries to phase out the use of fossil fuels. He previously said, “Our world needs climate action on all fronts—everything, everywhere, all at once.

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