hot planet summer

21 of the 30 hottest days ever recorded occurred in July this year

This month is not only on track to be the hottest July on record, but also the hottest month ever

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Heat is going from bad to worse.
Heat is going from bad to worse.
Photo: Anna Moneymaker (Getty Images)

As heat waves grip North America, Asia and Europe, and wildfires ravage countries including Canada and Greece, temperatures are hitting new highs. The first three weeks of the July this year were the warmest three-week period on record, data from the World Meteorological Organization and Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) show.

The world recorded its hottest day ever on July 3—a record then beaten on July 4, 5, and 6. All days since then have broken the previous record of 16.8°C (62.24°F), set on Aug, 13, 2016, the two weather-watching agencies raised alarm.


The current month is not only on track to be the hottest July on record, but also the hottest month ever.

The hottest July, in two charts

21 of the 30 hottest days ever occured in July 2023


July 2023 was the hottest July to date

What’s making the Earth hotter?

Carlo Buontempo, director of the C3S at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), blamed “anthropogenic emissions” for being the main driver of rising temperatures. Buontempo was referring to greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activities, such as burning fossil fuel, which slow the release of heat into space, warming the planet. The world has already heated up by about 1.2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, and scientists believe further increases in temperatures would progressively make life on Earth inhospitable to most species, including humans.


The ill-effects of anthropogenic emissions are currently being compounded by the El Niño effect—the name climatologists give to the periodic warming of the surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which can drive weather patterns worldwide.

Quotable: “Global boiling”

The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived. The air is unbreathable. The heat is unbearable. And the level of fossil-fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable. —UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a speech at the UN headquarters in New York City yesterday (July 27). Guterres has repeatedly advocated for a transition away from fossil fuels to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.


Hotter earth, by the digits

17.08°C (62.74°F): The global average temperature on the hottest day ever, on July 6. The values recorded on July 5 and 7 were within 0.01°C of this, the two climate research outfits said


16.95°C (62.51°F): Global mean surface air temperature averaged for the first 23 days of July 2023, well above 16.63°C recorded for the full month of July 2019—currently the warmest July and warmest month on record

98%: Likelihood that at least one of the next five years will be the warmest on record, according to the WMO’s predictions


38.44°C (101.19°F): Highest temperature point recorded in the waters of Florida’s Manatee Bay on July 24, which is within the range of hot tubs temperature 

52.2°C (25.96°F): China set a new national temperature record on July 16

400+: US Workers who have died due to environmental heat exposure since 2011, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


One more thing: Biden wants to protect workers from extreme heat

US president Joe Biden yesterday (July 27) announced a plan to protect workers from extreme heat and met with the mayors of Phoenix, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas—sweltering cities like where triple-digit Fahrenheit temperatures have persisted for weeks and tens of millions of people have been put under heat advisories.


The measures include directing the Department of Labor to ramp up inspections and issue hazard alerts in vulnerable jobs, such as construction, farm work, and firefighting. Funding of up to $7 million from Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act will go towards the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve its weather forecasts. Additionally, the Department of the Interior will invest $152 million from Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand water storage and enhance climate resilience in California, Colorado, and Washington.

While announcing the measures, the president said “Republicans in Congress continue to deny the very existence of climate change, peddle conspiracy theories,” but he will continue call out states that weren’t doing enough to protect workers from extreme heat. Biden stopped short of naming-and-shaming, but if he had, Texas governor Greg Abbot and his recent bill banning water breaks would’ve been first in line.


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