Record high average world temperatures cause alarm

Rice farmer

A farmer plants rice at sunrise in Hanoi. For many farmers in Vietnam, planting in the dark has become common as South and Southeast Asia nations battle record-high temperatures.

Photo credit: Nhac Nguyen | AFP

Three of the seven days last week recorded the highest ever global average temperature in years, unofficial data from scientists in the United States reveal.

Analysing data using the Climate Reanalyser tool, scientists from the University of Maine showed that Wednesday was the hottest day ever—at 17.18 degrees Celsius—after scrapping through data covering more than four decades. Every one of the seven days preceding Wednesday last week was on average 0.4 degrees Celsius higher than any week in 44 years.

This data was collated by the United States National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and analysed using Climate Reanalyser, which uses satellite data and computer simulations to measure the world’s temperature.

However, this data remains unofficial because it is yet to be approved by international bodies in charge of weather and climate patterns. One such body, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said it had not checked the data to confirm its authenticity.

“We recognise that we are in a warm period due to climate change, and combined with El Niño and hot summer conditions, we’re seeing record warm surface temperatures being recorded at many locations across the globe,” NOAA told the Associated Press.

However, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commented on the data, saying that it highlights the reality of climate change, which needs to be amplified, with the hope of reversing the impending damage.

“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,” said Mr Guterres.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that of June was the hottest month on record based on a report from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

“We are in uncharted territory and we can expect more records to fall as El Niño develops further and these impacts will extend into 2024,” said Prof Hewitt, WMO Director of Climate Services. “This is worrying news for the planet.”