Sick of hearing about record heat?  Scientists say these numbers paint a history of global warming

The summer of 2023 looks like a broken record for broken records.

All major climate monitoring organizations announced June The hottest June. and then July 4 became the hottest day in the worldAccording to the University of Maine Climate Reanalyzer, it was not official, but it happened quickly July 5 and July 6. The next hottest week came, a tad more authoritative, stamped on the books by the World Meteorological Organization and the Japan Meteorological Agency.

With weather reports dominating the news this summer, meteorologists and scientists say such records paint a bigger picture of a warming planet caused by climate change. Every day on weather maps online, in newspapers and on television, it’s a bright red and purple image that represents heat.

Beyond the map and the numbers are the real damage that kills. More than 100 people died in the heat wave. united states And India Until this summer.

Russell Voss, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Analysis Group, said the records are important to those who design infrastructure and work in agriculture because they need to plan for worst-case scenarios. He also chairs the National Archives Committee.

In the last 30 days, it’s almost 5,000 temperature and precipitation records They are broke or imprisoned in the US and beyond 10,000 records have been set worldwideAccording to NOAA. Texas cities and towns alone have set 369 daily high temperature records since June 1.

Since 2000, the US has set records for coldest temperatures twice.

“Records go back to the late 19th century and we can see that temperatures have increased over a decade,” said agency administrator Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Research. Climate records. “What’s happening now is increasing the chances that 2023 will be the hottest year on record. My calculations suggest there is a 50-50 chance at the moment.

The wider the geographic area and the longer the time period during which records are kept, the more likely the conditions are to represent climate change rather than daily weather. So the hottest global June is unlikely to happen without climate change, contrary to one city’s daily record, Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon.

Still, some of the local details are pretty impressive: it has Death Valley. He flirted with the hottest temperature this summer In modern history, though, the record of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 Celsius) is disputed.

Phoenix grabbed headlines in major US cities on Tuesday as it celebrated its 19th straight day Constant mega heat: 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius) or higher. Friday the 22nd straight day arrived. A record number of nights with daytime temperatures not falling below 90 Fahrenheit (32.2 Celsius) was set.

“Everybody gravitates toward extremes,” Voss said. “It’s like the Guinness Book of World Records. Human nature is drawn to extremes out of curiosity.

But they could be wrong about what the numbers show.

In the year Chris Field, a Stanford University climate scientist who led a major United Nations report in 2012 warning of the dangers of extreme weather from climate change, said the scientific community “doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe what it’s feeling.”

“I don’t think it captures human emotion, but it really highlights that we live in a different world,” Field says of the records.

According to Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald, think of individual statistics as the brush strokes of a picture of the world’s climate. Do not settle on any specific number.

“Of course the details are important, but the most important thing, especially for a great picture, is when you step back and look at everything that’s going on,” says Mahawald.

She and other climate scientists believe that long-term warming from Burning coal, oil and natural gas It’s the main cause of the warming the planet is experiencing this year, along with occasional natural El Nino warming in parts of the Pacific Ocean.

His son a Natural temporary heat Parts of the Pacific Ocean that are changing the climate around the world and causing further warming. El Nino formed in June and scientists say it looks strong. For the past three years, El Niño’s cool reversal, La Niña, has kept some of the human-caused warming at bay.

In the year A super El Niño in 1998 raised global temperatures, followed by a few years of warming and some flat temperatures until the next big El Niño, Mahawald said.

The weather doesn’t get worse every year and that shouldn’t be a normal expectation, but it will get worse in the long run, she said.

Richard Rhode of the University of Michigan used to blog about climate records, but in 2010 In 2014, he became ill with a series of new extremes.

“I think we need to move away from that kind of record-setting sensationalism and work hard,” he said, noting that people need to adapt to a warming world and seriously reduce emissions that lead to hotter and worse weather.

NOAA tracks weather observations from tens of thousands of stations across the U.S., and its global calculations include data from more than 100,000 stations, Vose said.

As those records come in, the agency checks their quality and calculates where the numbers stand historically. NOAA’s National Environmental Information Center in North Carolina is the arbiter of national records, while local National Weather Service offices handle those for cities, Voss said.

A special international committee deals with world records, and sometimes scientists disagree on the reliability of 100-year-old data. Those disagreements come over questions about determining the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

Checking records takes time. The most extreme weather events to analyze are too late because officials have approved records of 130 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley from 2020 and 2021, Voss said.

“Our primary job is to make a point, what happened? How unusual was it?” he asked.

Northern Illinois University climate scientist Victor Gencini says the issue is the bigger picture.

“Look at them all with an atmospheric orchestral feel,” says Jensini. There are many clear signs that we don’t live in the same climate we used to.


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