“Worrying news for the planet”: WMO confirms world’s hottest week

The World Meteorological Organization has confirmed the world’s hottest recorded week, following unofficial reporting of a string of record-beating days.

Within this period, the highest single day was confirmed on July 7 at 17.24°C.

It coincides with the declaration of an El Niño event by the WMO (though Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is awaiting a stable trend in atmospheric patterns).

The previous record high was 16.94°C, recorded on 16 August 2016 during the second-most recent El Niño event among those declared by the WMO.

But it’s difficult to uncouple El Niño from global heating thanks to record levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The exceptional warmth in June and at the start of July occurred at the onset of the development of El Niño, which is expected to further fuel the heat both on land and in the oceans and lead to more extreme temperatures and marine heatwaves,” says the WMO’s director of climate services Professor Christopher Hewitt.

“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. This is worrying news for the planet.”

The confirmation was one of a series of data confirmed by several climate monitors, among them confirmation by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service that last month was the hottest June on record – eclipsing the previous record from June 2019.

Swathes of the planet saw record high temperatures during that period, with only the western parts of Australia, the US and Russia experiencing cooler than normal temperatures.

Data represented by the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer indicate temperatures have begun to decline since June 7, though temperatures remain well-above average.

The WMO also confirmed Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest extent for this time of year, about 17% below the June average.

As reported by Cosmos last week, the reduction of sea ice in the region is an unanswered question for climate scientists, but one that remains of immense concern.

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