April 20, 2024 6:15 am
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UN Warns of ‘Global Boiling’ as July Predicted to be the Hottest Month Ever Recorded

July is on track to be the hottest month in recorded history, scientists confirmed Thursday, as UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Earth has moved into an “era of global boiling”.

The scorching heat amplified by global warming has impacted tens of millions of people in Europe, Asia, and North America this month. Coupled with raging wildfires in Canada and parts of southern Europe, the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent.

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning,”

said Guterres, emphasizing the urgent need for immediate and bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.”

With global average temperatures for the first three weeks of July surpassing previous records, the World Meteorological Organization and Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) stated that it is “extremely likely” that July 2023 will go down as the hottest month since records began in the 1940s.

Carlo Buontempo, Director of C3S, described the temperatures experienced so far as “remarkable”, with such a significant anomaly that scientists are confident the record will be shattered even before the month ends.

Moreover, when looking at climate proxy data from tree rings and ice cores, scientists believe that the temperatures observed in July could be “unprecedented in our history in the last few thousand years” and possibly even longer, “on the order of 100,000 years”.

The 1.2 degrees Celsius of global warming since the late 1800s, primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels, has resulted in hotter, longer, and more frequent heatwaves, as well as more extreme weather events like storms and floods.

‘Existential Threat’

The intense heat and devastating wildfires witnessed in July have sparked concerns about the impact on human health, ecosystems, and economies.

As large portions of the United States face a record-breaking heatwave, President Joe Biden declared that the soaring temperatures, driven by climate change, pose an “existential threat”. He emphasized that the impact of climate change can no longer be denied, revealing that heat is the “number one weather-related killer” in the United States, causing 600 deaths annually.

During a video conference at the White House with the mayors of Phoenix, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas, Biden announced efforts to strengthen heat-related safety regulations for workers, especially those working outdoors.

In Beijing, where a record-breaking stretch of four weeks with temperatures above 35C was experienced, authorities advised the elderly to stay indoors and children to limit their outdoor activities.

Across the Mediterranean region, wildfires raged due to the extreme heat, leaving landscapes incredibly dry. Greece has been battling deadly blazes for the past two weeks, with hundreds of firefighters struggling to contain them.

Hot Water

According to Copernicus and WMO, global average sea surface temperatures have been significantly higher than usual since May, contributing to the exceptionally warm July.

Buontempo revealed that “a significant swathe” of the central Mediterranean is now close to or above all previous temperature records.

In addition, shallow waters off south Florida registered temperatures exceeding 37.8C for several hours on Monday, potentially setting a new world record and posing a threat to coral reefs.

The WMO has previously stated that the eight years leading up to 2022 were the warmest on record, despite the cooling effects of the La Niña weather pattern. Currently, the warming El Niño pattern is emerging, though it is not expected to strengthen until later this year.

The UN organization predicts that it is more likely than not that global temperatures will temporarily rise 1.5C above the pre-industrial benchmark for at least one of the next five years. However, they stress that this would not be a permanent breach of the 1.5C limit outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Scientists emphasize the need for adaptation to the current impacts of heat and other climate-related events. They also stress the urgent need to significantly reduce carbon pollution this decade to prevent further worsening of the situation.

“The extreme weather which has affected many millions of people in July is unfortunately the harsh reality of climate change and a foretaste of the future,”

said Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization.

This week, scientists from the World Weather Attribution group concluded that the heatwaves experienced in parts of Europe and North America would have been nearly impossible without climate change.

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