The entire planet sweltered to the unofficial hottest day in human recordkeeping July 3 and then blasted past that with an even hotter day on July 4, according to University of Maine scientists at the Climate Reanalyzer project.
For two straight days, the global average temperature spiked into uncharted territory. After scientists talked about Monday’s dramatic heat, Tuesday soared 0.17 degrees Celsius (0.31 degrees Fahrenheit) even hotter, which is a huge temperature jump in terms of global averages and records.
The same University of Maine climate calculator — based on satellite data and computer simulations — forecasts a similar temperature for Wednesday that would be in record territory, with an Antarctica average that is a whopping 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the 1979-2000 average.
High temperature records were surpassed July 3 and 4 in Quebec and northwestern Canada and Peru. Cities across the U.S. from Medford, Oregon, to Tampa, Florida, have been hovering at all-time highs, said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Beijing reported nine straight days last week when the temperature exceeded 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).
“The increasing heating of our planet caused by fossil fuel use is not unexpected, it was predicted already in the 19th century after all,” said climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany. “But it is dangerous for us humans and for the ecosystems we depend on. We need to stop it fast…”