World's hottest day record beaten for third time in a week

Heatwaves, wildfires expected to be more frequent as global temperatures rise; June the hottest month recorded

By
Web Desk
This representational picture shows tourists and locals walking in scorching heat in Mexico on June 12, 2023. — AFP
This representational picture shows tourists and locals walking in scorching heat in Mexico on June 12, 2023. — AFP

Unofficial records indicate that the global average temperature has increased for the third time in a week.

The average global temperature on Thursday was 17.23 °C, according to data analysed by a team of US scientists. It tops the previous record of 17.01 °C, which was broken just one day later when the average temperature reached 17.18 °C.

According to scientists, the El Niño weather pattern and human-caused climate change are what are causing the temperature increases.

The most significant variation in the climate system anywhere on Earth is the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. It takes place every three to seven years, and during the warming phase, warmer waters from the tropical Pacific rise to the surface and release heat into the atmosphere.

"Climate scientists aren't surprised about the global daily temperature record being broken, but we are very concerned," Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in climate science at Imperial College London, said.

"It should be a wake-up call for anyone who thinks the world needs more oil and gas," she added.

The last record was broken in August 2016, but experts warn that many societies have not yet adapted to extreme heat and its impacts on people and the environment.

The Climate Reanalyzer, a tool used by University of Maine scientists, uses surface, air balloon, satellite, and computer modelling to assess global temperatures. 

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cannot confirm records partly derived from computer simulations, as the BBC reported.

"But we recognise that we are in a warm period due to climate change," NOAA said.

However, scientists warned that it is "uncommonly hot and it is likely the records will continue to be broken this summer."

"El Niño hasn't peaked yet and summer is still in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, so it wouldn't be surprising if the daily temperature record is broken again and again in 2023," Dr Paulo Ceppi, lecturer in climate science at Imperial College London, said.

Moreover, global temperatures are expected to increase heatwaves and wildfires, with last month being the hottest on record. 

In the UK, record-high June temperatures led to fish deaths and threatened insect survival. Climate change makes June heat more than twice as likely.

According to the BBC, North Africa and China are experiencing scorching heat, while southern Europe could face over 60 days of dangerous conditions. 

Higher-than-average heat affects crops and wildfires. Governments are committed to reducing carbon emissions to reach net zero, but global temperatures will only stabilise once the world reaches net zero.