Tuesday was possibly the hottest day on Earth within the last 125,000 years.
57 million people in the United States experienced dangerous heat levels on July 4, at the same time China was experiencing a debilitating heat wave. Temperatures in North Africa were reported to have reached 122 degrees Fahrenheit, with the overall global average temperature reaching 62.92F.
“When’s the hottest day likely to be? It’s going to be when global warming, El Niño and the annual cycle all line up together. Which is the next couple months,” Myles Allen, a professor of geosystem science at Oxford University, told The Washington Post. “It’s a triple whammy.”
Tuesday was the hottest day in history since Monday, when global average temperatures reached 62.62F. Before that, the highest recorded average temperature was 62.46F on August 14, 2016.
Heat such as this has not been seen since a period of warmth between two ice ages, which is known through environmental evidence left in tree rings and ice cores. The Arctic and Antarctica are seeing unprecedentedly warm summers, primarily attributed to climate change.
“It’s warming 0.25 degrees Celsius a decade,” Allen explained. “That’s why we see records broken continuously, rather than just as one-offs.”
Within the next five years, global temperatures are predicted to rise beyond an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), according to a report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which said in May that there is now a 66 percent chance of reaching the average by 2027.
The Paris Climate Accords of 2015 set to limit greenhouse gas emissions to prevent global temperatures from rising above 1.5C. While the goal is still attainable, data in the WMO report and from recent increasing temperatures reflect a failure among world leaders to limit fossil fuel usage.
“If we want to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, which is the world’s governments’ aim, we’ve got very little time to stop the warming,” Allen continued. “You don’t need a climate model to know that — it’s just a matter of braking distances.”