The heat in July has already been so extreme that it is “virtually certain” this month will break records “by a significant margin,” the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service and the World Meteorological Organization said in a report published Thursday.
We have just lived through the hottest three-week period on record – and almost certainly in more than a hundred thousand years.
Typically these records, which track the average air temperature across the entire world, are broken by hundredths of a degree. But the temperature for the first 23 days of July averaged 16.95 degrees Celsius (62.51 Fahrenheit), well above the previous record of 16.63 degrees Celsius (61.93 Fahrenheit) set in July 2019, according to the report.
The data used to track these records goes back to 1940, but many scientists – including those at Copernicus – say it’s almost certain that these temperatures are the warmest the planet has seen in 120,000 years, given what we know from millennia of climate data extracted from tree rings, coral reefs, and deep-sea sediment cores.
“These are the hottest temperatures in human history,” said Samantha Burgess, deputy director at Copernicus.