Scorching Horrors: Record-High Temperatures Reiterate Urgency for Climate Action
By: Meerub Nisar
July 2023 greeted us with scorching heats and recording breaking temperatures.
This past week, the earth lived through a series of hottest days on record, according to NCEP data. On Tuesday (4th July), the average global temperature of 17.18° Celsius broke the record, which was previously held by the day before- 17.01° Celsius on Monday the 3rd. Yet, this record was short-held, with Thursday (6th July) bringing a new high of 17.23° Celsius.
Though these numbers aren’t official yet, they’re enough cause of concern for climate scientists and the rest of the community. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warns that “climate change is out of control”.
Consequently, we are reaching uncharted territory with these temperatures; the intensity of these events have shocked experts and caused doubt upon the assumed linearity of climate change.
Moreover, more frequent and intense heat waves are disrupting the routine of millions around the globe. Southern US has been boiling under an intense heat dome for a few weeks. The African continent endured its hottest night on record on Thursday, 6th July. Open-air raid shelters were opened in cities across China for relief against severe heat as deaths were reported in Beijing and Shaoxing. Heat health warnings and alerts were given in many countries in Europe, like Germany and the UK. Surface temperatures reached record highs last month, with high levels of ocean heat. And with already above-average temperatures in Antarctica for this time of the year, sea ice levels have sunk to record lows.
To add, Global warming being compounded by El Niño, a band of warm water that irregularly emerges in the Pacific Ocean and also causes warmer temperatures during its persistence, has exacerbated the situation.
These new records are a death sentence and Dr Friederike Otto, a senior climate science lecturer at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change worryingly believes that this record won’t remain for long. In May, a Berkeley Earth analysis put the chances of 2023 being the hottest on record at 54%, with this probability only increasing when last month was officially deemed the “hottest June on record”.
“If we persist in delaying key measures that are needed, I think we are moving into a catastrophic situation, as the last two records in temperature demonstrates.”, the UN Secretary-General adds. And the longer we remain inactive, the more violent and hopeless the situation gets; droughts, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, increasingly frigid polar vortexes and other extreme weather events have and will only continue to become more commonplace and intense.
Reduction of carbon emissions into the environment is becoming increasingly more of a necessity for the Earth’s survival, as the rate of global warming- and its subsequent impacts- will not slow down otherwise.
Immediate action is necessary.