A woman uses a sweater to shield from the sun as she wals on a street on a hot day in Beijing, Monday, July 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

World Experiences Hottest-ever Days This Week

VOA Learning English • voa
July 5, 2023 5 minSource

Two groups that follow the world’s temperatures said July 3 and 4 were likely the hottest days since satellite records started in 1979.

Scientists at the University of Maine run a group called the Climate Reanalyzer. It uses computer models and satellite data to predict global temperatures. The model does not use real temperatures recorded in places around the world.

The U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NECP) are part of the National Weather Service. The group works to produce weather predictions and set quality levels for scientific measurement and research.

Both groups said the world’s average temperature on July 3 surpassed 17 degrees Celsius. An earlier high came in August 2016 when the temperature was 16.92 degrees Celsius. The Climate Reanalyzer said July 4 would have been hotter based on its computer prediction. The group said July 5 was almost as hot.

It showed temperatures in Antarctica, where it is winter, are 4.5 degrees Celsius higher than the average from 1979 to 2000, in some places.

Places in northern Canada, such as Quebec, and South America, including Peru, also reached new highs on July 3 and 4 compared to average temperatures.

American cities from the northwest to the southeast have been close to all-time highs in recent days compared to average temperatures, too. In Beijing, weather watchers report nine straight days recently where temperatures were over 35 degrees Celsius.

Stefan Rahmstorf is a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany. He said the temperature increase linked to the burning of fossil fuels was predicted over 100 years ago. He then said: “It is dangerous for us humans and the ecosystems we depend on. We need to stop it fast.”

Jason Furtado is a weather professor at the University of Oklahoma. He called temperature information from 2023 “truly unreal.”

The Climate Reanalyzer project does not use the same climate data as the U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (known as NOAA). The recent number of higher-than-average temperatures for single days does not make an official record. However, it supports some scientists’ ideas about temperature change. The Climate Reanalyzer information goes back to about 1979. That is when satellites first started to track daily temperatures.

NOAA’s records from on-the-ground measurements go back to 1880.

Deke Arndt is director of NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information. He said NOAA will consider Climate Reanalyzer’s information when it decides on official records.

He said the observation of a single day does not carry the same weight as a month or a year. However, he called 2023 “a warm piece of what will likely be a very warm era.” He called the current warming event, known as El Nino, “ robust .” He said human-caused warming only makes the El Nino event stronger.

The Reanalyzer team said the Earth’s average temperature on July 4 was 17.18 degrees Celsius. That was about one degree Celsius warmer than the average from 1979 to 2000.

Chris Field is a climate scientist at Stanford University. He called the news “another piece of evidence…that global warming is pushing us into a hotter future.”

People in the southern U.S., North Africa and China are currently experiencing heat waves, or several days with higher-than-average temperatures. A Ukrainian research base on an island near Antarctica reported a July record temperature with a reading of 8.7 degrees Celsius.

People often like to celebrate records. But Friederike Otto at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment in London said, “this is not a milestone we should be celebrating.”

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reports by The Associated Press and Reuters.

Words in This Story

fossil fuel –n. energy in the form of gas, coal and oil that is taken from the ground and comes from the breakdown of old matter

ecosystem –n. everything that exists in an environment and how all those things interact

robust –adj. large and strong

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