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Record-breaking global temperatures likely highest in ‘At Least 100,000 Years’

Drought land

Posted: Friday, July 7, 2023. 10:26 am CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: This week, planet Earth experienced its fourth consecutive day of record-breaking temperatures, reaching levels unparalleled in the history of modern record-keeping. According to scientists, these alarming figures likely represent the highest global temperatures in “at least 100,000 years,” as reported by CNN.

The global average daily temperature spiked to 17.23 degrees Celsius (63.01 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday, informed the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer. This program utilizes data from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).

The string of high temperature records started on Monday when the average global temperature hit 17.01 degrees Celsius (62.62 degrees Fahrenheit), exceeding all previous temperatures recorded by the NCEP since it started in 1979. The temperature climbed further to 17.18 degrees Celsius on Tuesday and held on Wednesday.

In comparison, before this week, the all-time high in NCEP’s data was 16.92 degrees Celsius, recorded in August 2016. While this week’s records are yet to be officially confirmed, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service substantiated several of these records in its dataset, which goes back to 1940.

Although these records are rooted in observational datasets extending back to only the mid-20th century, they are “almost certainly” the highest in a much broader timeframe, explained Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center. Francis underscored the gravity of the situation, estimating these temperatures as being the warmest “probably going back at least 100,000 years.”

Scientists back this claim with climate data spanning many millennia, extracted from proxies like tree rings, ice cores, and coral reefs. This data forms a critical foundation for understanding the climate system and human influence on rapid global warming since the industrial revolution.

Robert Rohde, a lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, was one of the first to announce the soaring global temperatures this week. Speaking to CNN, he warned that “we’re going to keep seeing more of these records fall” this summer.

July, usually the planet’s hottest month, is already witnessing accelerated warming due to a combination of El Niño – a natural climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean – and the human-induced climate crisis driving global temperatures upward.

Friederike Otto, a senior lecturer in climate science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment in the UK, acknowledged the severity of the situation. Otto noted that these temperature records represent more than mere numbers; they signify a tangible loss of life and livelihood for people and ecosystems. She emphasized, “It just shows we have to stop burning fossil fuels, not in decades, now.”

Adding to the international concern, Belize has also been severely impacted by the record-breaking global heatwave. Renowned for its vibrant biodiversity and home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, Belize has experienced unprecedented high temperatures this year, exacerbating existing environmental challenges. With heat-sensitive ecosystems under threat, the plight of Belize is a stark reminder of how smaller, climate-vulnerable nations bear the brunt of global warming, demonstrating the widespread and indiscriminate impacts of the escalating climate crisis.


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